Allen residents have more ways than ever to plug into local news and information, thanks to new initiatives from the City’s Public and Media Relations Office.
The department conducted a citizen survey in 2019 to assess communication needs and preferences. As a direct result, the City developed new or improved tools for accessing key information about Allen, as reported to Allen City Council on November 10.
Improve website and mobile app
Allen launched an upgraded City website in September 2020, created with a mobile user in mind. Action-driven buttons, user-focused navigation and a keyword search bar help visitors find what they need more quickly.
In addition, a new MyAllen mobile app and citizen request center allows users to submit service requests, receive trash and recycling reminders and get status updates.
In the 2019 survey, more than 40% of respondents identified the City of Allen website as a primary source of City news and events. However, some expressed dissatisfaction with organization of the current site, especially when using a mobile device.
Enhance use of direct mail
While a large portion of surveyed residents praised the City's digital communication efforts, approximately 35% indicated a need to supplement digital efforts with regular print communication. To address this need, the City launched a new printed publication called "In Focus." This new publication was first included in utility bills in October 2020 and will be featured as a special section in the LIFE Activity Guide in Winter 2020.
Improve digital news format
Nearly a third (30%) of respondents said they typically learn about city news and events from a email subscription to City news. However, some expressed frustration with the old newsletter design, which required readers to click links to view important event details such as date and time. As a result, the City newsletter was refreshed in January 2020 with a new layout, allowing for more information to be included in each issue.
Provide more development and economic growth information
In the update to City Council, Public and Media Relations Director Teresa Warren highlighted a new mapping tool created by the City’s Community Development Department.
This user-friendly feature uses GIS mapping software to pinpoint the location of development projects, whether proposed, coming soon or already under construction. The map was announced on the City website in November and will be promoted in various communication channels.
In addition, AllenNews.org now includes a section highlighting new businesses, development activity and news from Allen Economic Development Corporation.
The Public and Medial Relations Office continues working with Allen Police Department on enhanced crime and emergency notifications. The departments are currently training on new software to send geo-targeted messages to users who enroll in the notification tool. This will allow more timely and targeted messaging to impacted neighborhoods or traffic routes.
The department is also deploying chat bots on social media channels to assist residents with frequently-asked questions and popular search topics.
“We are excited to continue expanding our ability to provide relevant and time-sensitive messages to our community, especially during emergencies,” said Warren.
Get connected with the City of Allen
You can get updates on local news, events and more by following or subscribing to the City of Allen’s communication channels.