New look for town’s web­site

Town of Cobourg up­dates its on­line pres­ence just 18 months af­ter the last re­vamp

Northumberland Today - - FRONT PAGE - CE­CILIA NASMITH

I am a real be­liever in con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment, be­cause no­body can get it right the first time around.” Mayor Gil Bro­canier

COBOURG — Today is the day the Town of Cobourg launches its newly redesigned web­site.

At coun­cil’s com­mit­tee-ofthe-whole meet­ing this week, com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Ash­ley Purdy ex­plained why there is a new de­sign just 18 months af­ter the last redesign.

As well as a sim­ple need to keep up with the lat­est trends and tech­nolo­gies, Purdy said, “In­di­vid­u­als base their first im­pres­sion on on­line pres­ence.”

A Stan­ford Univer­sity ar­ti­cle she cited said that about 75% of peo­ple judge cred­i­bil­ity solely on the de­sign of a web­site.

When she ap­plied for her job, Purdy added, she checked out the web­site the town had at the time and al­most re­con­sid­ered her ap­pli­ca­tion.

eSo­lu­tions Group Inc. did a redesign, which was launched in May 2016. Now there’s an even newer redesign.

Pub­lic en­gage­ment guided the process, with an on­line 17-ques­tion sur­vey that got 55 re­sponses.

“I can tell you that the feed­back we re­ceived was ex­tremely help­ful — it was very thought­ful,” Purdy said.

Rea­sons re­spon­dents listed for lik­ing the 2016 site in­cluded a good search en­gine, a com­mu­nity cal­en­dar they could sub­scribe to, agree­able font and ac­ces­si­bil­ity across all plat­forms.

Asked what they dis­liked about it, they re­sponded with words like “too busy,” “over­whelm­ing” and “clut­tered.”

Among the top things re­spon­dents looked for on the site were the event cal­en­dar, pub­lic no­tices, coun­cil and com­mit­tee in­for­ma­tion, and Cobourg Com­mu­nity Cen­tre pro­gram­ming, as well as in­for­ma­tion on by­laws, elec­tions and the li­brary.

As a re­sult, Purdy said, they have de­vel­oped click­able icons for easy ac­cess to this in­for­ma­tion — a pre­ferred method over drop-down menus and nav­i­ga­tion links. Now, for ex­am­ple, click­ing on the re­cre­ation-and-leisure icon will con­nect a user to the Cobourg Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Users can sign up to sub­scribe to re­ceiv­ing press re­leases di­rectly in their own e-mail in­boxes in­stead of check­ing in at the web­site on their own.

The search fea­ture is pow­ered by Google, but it was in an outof-the-way corner of the screen. It has been moved to a more prom­i­nent lo­ca­tion.

Still to come is the Have Your Say fea­ture, which will be added later.

“The colours are more in line with the mu­nic­i­pal-brand­ing look and feel,” she said.

Coun­cil con­grat­u­lated Purdy on the project.

“I am a real be­liever in con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment, be­cause no­body can get it right the first time around,” Mayor Gil Bro­canier com­mented.

“These are great ideas, and I will get up early Nov. 15 to see it,” Coun­cil­lor De­bra McCarthy promised.

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