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City of Seattle wins national recognition for work in digital equity and accessibility

The City of Seattle was named a winner in the seventh annual Smart Cities North America Award (SCNAA) in the category of Digital Equity and Accessibility. Seattle was recognized for its inclusive design initiatives on public-facing digital experiences.

Led by the Seattle Information Technology Department, the City of Seattle has made a deliberate effort to create inclusive practices through policies and standards for public-facing digital experiences. These experiences must adhere to federal and local regulations and, more holistically, must reflect the equity and inclusion that a government is expected to provide.

“The City of Seattle strives to be a leader in digital accessibly. Through the Digital Engagement team’s work in human centered design approach and time-tested research, those who come to Seattle digital properties benefit from hard work and passion,” said Jim Loter, interim Chief Technology Officer of Seattle Information Technology. “Whether people visit our website, receive a digital newsletter, or follow departments on social media, they will have a richer online experience because of this work.”

“Inclusive design has been a focus of our digital services for several years. Our progress is most evident on the website and as the enthusiasm and adoption grows, we’re looking forward to seeing improvements across all public-facing web applications at the City,” said Michal Perlstein, senior manager of the digital engagement team which was honored with this award.

Seattle’s inclusive design initiatives span design, content, and technical initiatives, all leveraging a human-centered approach. This approach has expanded design standards, providing clear and inclusive requirements for digital properties, from brand consistency and URL naming to digital equity, accessibility, and privacy.

“Congratulations to Seattle IT’s Digital Engagement Teams for winning the 2024 IDC Smart Cities North America Award! Your investment in educating City staff about the importance of digital accessibility has increased awareness tenfold,” said Holly Delcambre, ADA Title II Compliance Program Manager, Equity and Policy. “The Citywide ADA Title II Program recognizes how much this work supports the inclusivity of constituents with disabilities. We are honored to work with such an effective team in planning the City’s annual celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day in May.”   

The SCNAA awards were designed to recognize North American states and municipalities’ progress in executing Smart Cities projects and provide a forum for sharing best practices to help accelerate Smart City development in the region. 

“Our annual Smart Cities North America Awards recognize the best of the best among smart city initiatives and unlike anything else in the industry, provide a blueprint for government officials looking to execute similar projects,” said Ruthbea Yesner, Vice President, IDC Government Insights and Smart Cities and Communities Strategies. “We congratulate the winners on their unwavering dedication to executing compelling projects from start to finish – leveraging cutting-edge technology to offer sustainable, new services and economic opportunities and enhancing the lives of citizens.” The City of Seattle’s Digital Engagement team designs, develops, and manages the digital experiences and products that enable City departments to communicate effectively with the public. The expertise among the team members brings increased consistency, usability, and accessibility to the City’s digital communications. The Digital Engagement Team is part of the Seattle Information Department (Seattle IT). Seattle IT is a trusted partner that provides secure, reliable, and compliant technologies, enabling the City to deliver equitable and responsive services to the public.