“Software as a service (SaaS; pronounced /sæs/) is a software
licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a
subscription basis and is centrally hosted.”
● Frequent/recurring product updates
● Pricing transparency (+ freemium, ‘try before buy’)
● Faster deployment
● Built-in hosting/development
● Less customized than Service
● Highly customizable
● Budgeting/pricing instability
● Must have a great internal product owner/manager
Questions to ask
● Do you need customized development?
● Do you have budget for recurring/ongoing customized
● If yes to above question, will this be maintained internally
or by a third party?
● If internally, do you have great developers/designers/IT
managers that can maintain AND continually upgrade? (If
no to this question, you should probably use SaaS.)
● Traditional RFP process
● Copying another city’s requirements
● Buying before trying
● Closed communication
● Unproductive criteria for valuing a vendor (like each team
● Large group of uninvolved stakeholders
● Be flexible
● Ask to try before you buy
● Consider monthly/annual ‘subscription’ options
● Consider staff time invested in decision process to your
● SaaS eliminates need for RFP, large/one-time purchase
● Forced into a more traditional procurement process?
Consider RFI to see alternative options.
“The objective of this phase is to build a fully working
prototype which you test with users. You’ll continuously
improve on the prototype until it’s ready to go live, replacing or
integrating with any existing services.”
● ‘alpha,’ ‘beta,’ ‘pilot,’ ‘test’
● Lets you incrementalize (start small and evolve)
● Allows government to engage with public, get feedback
● Is more transparent
● Limits surprise factor for residents
● Lower stress on staff updating their processes
● Encourages experimentation
● Promote and educate to foster a productive feedback loop.
● Have fun and try things (be open to new ideas).
● Set a deadline for launching to live.
● Make this a priority
● Write user stories (“I am a resident/visitor/business ...”)
● Identify content goals
● Follow a style guide (AP, Chicago, Conscious - age/gender)
● Use a content management system (WordPress, Drupal,
● Goal: “build sites that are usable by everyone, not to meet
minimum standards” (18F)
● Law: Section 508 - requires that government provides
equal access to information to disabled employees
● Standard: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
● Ensure keyboard access
● Use semantic headings (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
● Label form elements
● Use alt/img tags
● Use multimedia captioning (audio/video)
● Take into account color contrast
● Confidentiality. The visitor’s connection is encrypted,
obscuring URLs, cookies, and other sensitive metadata.
● Authenticity. The visitor is talking to the “real” website, and
not to an impersonator or through a “man-in-the-middle”.
● Integrity. The data sent between the visitor and the website
has not been tampered with or modified.
● Easily create strong passwords
● Can safely share passwords
● Major tools have freemium plans