Andover develops comprehensive mobile app

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Mass Innovations, From The Beacon, April 2018
 
​Andover has released a comprehensive mobile app that provides quick, smartphone-friendly access to functions that have proven popular on the town’s website, from paying bills to applying for permits.
 
An increasing number of communities have begun using mobile apps, such as SeeClickFix’s “Commonwealth Connect,” which is used by residents to report issues such as potholes. Andover sought to build an app with a greater range of functionality.
 
Deputy Town Manager John Mangiaratti said one of the primary goals of the town’s website redesign was to ensure that every piece of content was mobile-friendly, and the app – available both for iOS and Android – provides convenient and quicker access to the town’s most-used online services.
 
Instead of residents pulling up the website on their mobile device and navigating through menus, they can quickly open the app and find the information they’re looking for with a finger tap.
 
The app, launched at the beginning of March, takes advantage of the website’s mobile device compatibility by linking to web pages when appropriate, including new online services such as the town’s transition to online permitting for residents and businesses alike, Mangiaratti said.
 
The app lets users opt for push notifications for information such as agendas for certain town board meetings, town bid postings, parking ban alerts, and news flashes. The app also offers a town staff directory and an economic development toolkit created in collaboration with the town’s Economic Development Council.
 
Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said the app, which the town started working on last summer, is the result of a holistic examination of public communications that began 18 months ago.
 
The process started with the website redesign, which launched in December 2016, and evolved into a more wide-ranging approach to interacting with the public, acknowledging that people increasingly check their mobile devices first for news and information.
 
“When we were deciding what website vendor to use, we made sure that … the vendor would also be available to provide us with the app,” said Mangiaratti.
 
Flanagan said the app and website development process was based on community feedback.
 
“We’ve really done it through the lens of responding to what we’ve heard people are looking for throughout the town,” he said.
 
For more information, contact Deputy Town Manager John Mangiaratti at (978) 623-8210 or John.Mangiaratti@andoverma.us.