Archive for Wednesday, February 22, 2017

City of Shawnee plans to upgrade website this year

February 22, 2017

The city of Shawnee hopes to launch a redesigned website by the end of the year.

The current website design, which was launched in 2009, is text-heavy, pointed out Shawnee communications manager Julie Breithaupt.

City officials want a redesign, which would make the site more user-friendly, colorful and attractive.

They also want a site that is more photo and video friendly.

“Websites of a city are generally the first landing for people looking to move there or businesses looking to open,” Breithaupt told the Dispatch. “So, we want a site that immediately shows what Shawnee has to offer. The current site has a lot of good information, but you have to search for it.”

At its city council meeting last week, the governing body unanimously approved an implementation contract with CivicLive, a Toronto-based web design firm.

It has designed websites for cities such as Vallejo, Ca., Tacoma, Wa., and Casper, Wy.

The website upgrade will cost the city $100,395 for design and implementation. Annual hosting fees are $17,569.

CivicLive was chosen because it specializes in live social media integration, strong search capabilities, and modern, clean designs.

It also offers interactive calendar, polling, graph, and survey functions.

Breithaupt said the idea of integrating social media on the website is exciting, because more and more residents are accessing city hall via sites like Facebook and Twitter.

In her State of the City Address earlier this month, for instance, Mayor Michelle Distler pointed out that in the past year, the city has gained around 2,500 more Facebook followers and nearly 1,200 more Twitter followers.

Another important function to the city is that the new website will conform to any device a person is using, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

During the next year, CivicLive will work with city staff on the redesign, seeking what information and features are most important to Shawnee officials.

It also plans to engage with the public, which is key, because ultimately, the city’s website is for them, Breithaupt said.

Public input could be obtained via online surveys, heat maps, and one-on-one interactions.

The redesign process is expected to take around a year, and the goal is to launch the new website by 2018.

“We just want to give residents the information they need right at their fingertips,” Breithaupt said. “After all, this website is for them.”

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