City of Oakland

Exygy takes a successfully iterative approach to government website development with the City of Oakland.


Located in the east San Francisco Bay, Oakland is the eighth-largest city in California. With a population of over 400,000, its city website provides resources and information for countless Bay Area residents. Beginning in 2020, Exygy engaged in a multi-year contract with the city to continuously develop its city website to better serve the diverse needs of the city. 

The Problem

Over and over, we are reminded of ways that thoughtfully designed digital tools can help provide critical resources to those that need them most. City government websites are one such platform that has the potential to connect citizens with the resources they need most and as a result, we were incredibly excited about our work with the City of Oakland. needed to be overhauled in order to provide equitable access to critical content, increase accessibility for the residents of Oakland, and simplify the website management for City employees. As the digital front door for the city, it was vital that site visitors were greeted by a modern, accessible, and easy-to-use website. It was also important to make the back-end management for city staff easy to navigate.

Our commitment to working with government agencies is grounded in our expertise in designing and building digital tools that are easy to use and manage through industry best practices, with a focus on accessibility, inclusion, and scalability.

The Approach

Discovery & Analysis

We started with a deep dive into the City of Oakland’s known and unknown problem areas. This was a vital part of our approach as it set the foundation for the rest of the engagement. We grounded ourselves in what has already been accomplished and aligned with the city on its development goals. We were then able to build upon new insights and findings since the last major redesign effort was completed in 2016.

Design & Build of

Exygy moved into a solution-oriented phase that lasted multiple years and focused on making key, equity-focused improvements and simultaneously improved the current service delivery for the website. In collaboration, Exygy and the Oakland team established a replicable process of design, user testing, and content governance for Oakland’s service delivery. This streamlined process allowed us to continually iterate upon the website and create alignment through meetings, events, and departments.


From the beginning, the project had a strong focus on Accessibility and making the website user-friendly for the many communities that the City serves. The Exygy Design Team conducted extensive accessibility research and audits of the Oakland website. We also partnered with The Center for Accessible Technology and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired as they are subject matter experts. With a clear understanding of the changes that needed to be made, our engineering team was able to implement the changes resulting in a website that serves and meets the needs of more communities. 

The City of Oakland's Accessibility Statement

One of the outcomes of our work together was an accessibility statement to provide information on the City of Oakland's commitment to making its digital content accessible to everyone. The webpage includes a detailed accessibility statement, information on how to request accessible content and resources for creating accessible content. It also includes information on how to report accessibility issues and what to do if you encounter an inaccessible document or website.

Information Architecture, Navigation, and Data Analytics 

The Oakland website hosts critical information for residents, and site visitors should be able to find the resources they are looking for as easily as possible. This goal starts with information architecture. We dug into the website analytics and discovered what types of information residents were seeking. This informed the update we made to the IA, navigation, and search abilities. Residents are now able to find the information they are searching for with greater ease. 

Backend Improvements and Design Standards

We not only focused on creating a site that worked well for Oakland residents, but we also worked to improve the backend experience for city staff. We improved the author's experience and built upon, and expanded the City’s existing design standards. Our team worked to create consistency across all the web pages through a cohesive voice, tone, and iconography. 

Expanding Digital Services 

In our work on Bloom Housing and Civiform, we know how important it is to have digital service applications that are easy to understand, complete, and submit. We were thrilled to work with the City of Oakland to expand its understanding and implementation online services such as its permitting site.

The Impact
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The City of Oakland’s website continues to serve its multicultural and diverse population. Through our work together and the strong foundation the City of Oakland had already established, residents can get the information they are seeking quicker and more easily. New CMS templates improve accessibility and ease of content management and residents and city employees are actively involved in the design and content strategy process to validate decisions and build trust with the Oakland community. 

Digital products are never finished just as communities never stop changing. The Oakland team knows this and is on a mission to continuously improve their site. Through our partnership, we were able to support Oakland’s Digital Services team to lead with an agile, human-centered approach for years to come. 

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