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Municipal citizen portal reinforces e-democracy for the city of Västerås

The municipality of Västerås and the City of Västerås lies in Västmanland County, and has the fourth largest population in Sweden. The central urban area is Sweden's fifth largest urban area. The City of Västerås is now taking a large step forward with the easy to use and easy to access portal, Vasteras.se, that will improve its inhabitants' services and reinforce e-democracy.

Establish the new municipal website Vasteras.se, which must be extremely easy to use, especially for the city's inhabitants with any form of disability. The portal Vasteras.se must improve the city's services to its people and reinforce e-democracy. An important part of this is the user-friendly information structure that will make it easy for visitors to find the information and e-services they are looking for.

Vasteras.se is one of the first public sector websites in Sweden that has been completely developed using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. In addition, it is structured according to Microsoft's global framework for a municipal website, CSP (Citizen Service Platform).

"We started by conducting a survey to idenitfy the charakteristics of Vasteras.se users and their needs. Throughout the entire process, we have also worked with access to the website; graphically, technically and in terms of content," says Åke Lagerberg, Account Manager at EVRY.

The new portal puts the users' needs in the centre through knowledge and statistics. Now, users can carry out 55 percent of their tasks on the first page of the site. Location of content and functions on the front page is adapted to what is most in demand in the portal at any given time. The website is also integrated with many external services that are in demand, such as events, tourist information, weather and situations vacant.

Visitors can have most of the pages at Vasteras.se read out by the computer. The speech generator is implemented as a service using the product ReadSpeaker from Voice Corp.

"Today, many modern websites are adapted for users with serious sight disabilities and whom uses a speech synthesizer, but this type of speech reader is a fairly new product," says Siw Adolfson.

Other people can also benefit from them, such as those who have reading and writing difficulties.

"Another advantage with the portal is that it does not require any extra software that costs money to use parts of the website or its e-services."

The portal has been designed to be able to offer more interactive e-services. In the future, for example, you will be able to submit building applications, applications for child care and transport services, among other services."

The new website was launched in the spring of 2009. The overall aim of the project was to create an easy to use municipal website offering good access, at least for citizens with some form of disability. An important part of this is that the user-friendly information structure that will make it easy for visitors to find the information and e-services they are looking for.

"The website has improved our service to our citizens. The old website had its weaknesses in both useability and accessibility. We are now working on introducing a number of e-services. The new website is the first step for the city of Västerås to become one of Sweden's most prominent e-municipalities," says Siw Adolfson, Communications Director at the city of Västerås.

The improved service for its citizens will, in time, lead to reduced workload for the city's administrative personnel as internal processes have become successively more efficient.. The number of telephone calls to the city administration has already been reduced.

The launch of the new website was preceded by a beta period. According to analyses and surveys it was well-received by the visitors.

"The website has now been rolled out. We have received a lot of praise from users and are looking forward to continuing to develop the website," says Siw Adolfson, Director of Communication at the city of Västerås..

The city of Västerås wants to provide personal service online. Soon, we will be able to carry out all of our tasks with the municipality directly from our computers or mobile phones. That is what we expect as citizens, at the same time as politicians are exerting pressure on municipalities to develop their online services. The way forward is not completely straight, and in these recessionary times it will be even more of challenge to be an e-municipality in the future.


The municipality of Västerås and the City of Västerås lies in Västmanland County, and has the fourth largest population in Sweden. The central urban area is Sweden's fifth largest urban area. The City of Västerås is now taking a large step forward with the easy to use and easy to access portal, Vasteras.se, that will improve its inhabitants' services and reinforce e-democracy.

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