Newburyport, Massachusetts, polls residents for website redesign ideas
(TNS) – The mayor is looking to update the city’s website and he’s asking local residents for help.
Mayor Sean Reardon’s administration is redesigning the city’s CivicPlus website with a focus on updated content and an improved look and feel while making articles easier to find.
An online poll designed to give residents a chance to weigh in on the redesign has been posted at https://forms.gle/RbhY1Z3hyrUYrRNS9.
“We’re really asking what’s important to residents and what information do they really want at their fingertips?” said Reardon. “What usability are they looking for? Then we also take all sorts of suggestions on the website in general.”
Reardon said he heard many complaints about the city’s website from residents during his campaign last year.
“It’s something I wanted to address and I’ve heard a lot about people’s frustrations with the Doors website last year,” he said.
The city’s current website design dates back more than 10 years, according to Reardon, who also had his own issues with the site.
“I’ve been out there, looking for things before and I know it’s out there somewhere, but it wasn’t always easy to locate,” he said. “Being user-friendly and having things close at hand is something that all public organizations should strive to make as easy as possible for residents.”
Residents should only have two or three minutes out of their day to find what they’re looking for on the city’s website, the mayor said.
“I think it goes beyond giving it a new look. We really want to know what’s important to people,” he said. “What are they using the website for now?”
The public inquiry will end at 4 p.m. Thursday and will give residents an opportunity to participate in the redesign of the website, which Mr Reardon says needs a “facelift”.
“The idea is to have another user-friendly tool that citizens can use on a day-to-day basis, whether searching for information or paying a bill,” he said. “I hope a lot of our permissions will move online and also be integrated into the website.”
The city is still looking for a new CIO after Mark Kavanaugh left in January and has worked with outside companies Inno4 and ePlus to complete a technology audit.
“Once we have a better idea of what the job will be like, I think we can start looking for someone who specializes in some of the things we need to do here in the city,” Reardon said.
Chief Financial Officer Ethan Manning filled in as needed for the city’s information technology. He cited recent municipal website redesigns by Lexington and Amesbury as examples of what Newburyport residents can expect to see in the future.
“You can expect the website to look quite different and we want to reflect what people use the most,” he said.
Reardon said he hopes to roll out the redesigned website by the fall and eventually it will become a “friendly hub” for residents to conduct business with the city.
“We hope people can do a lot of their business without going into City Hall if they don’t want to,” he said.
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