Waco’s new website will have a more useful layout and search bar, executives say
Waco will soon be swapping out its website for one designed to be a little more sleek and navigable, and to make it easier to find frequently-requested information.
Residents have until SundayOctober 9, to say goodbye to the green, blue, white, wordy page of waco-texas.com, which will be replaced by a simpler layout designed for small and large screens. The waco-texas.com URL will remain the same. City spokesperson Dori Helm gave the site its latest overhaul in 2015 in an effort to make it better for mobile users.
At a Waco City Council meeting on Tuesday, spokeswoman Monica Sedelmeier and chief information officer Mike Searight said the new site will feature a more comprehensive employee directory and a much more functional search bar. than the current version.
“When we started looking at this, I think it was pretty obvious that we needed a website overhaul,” Searight said.
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Sedelmeier said the city’s site receives more than 2.8 million visitors a year, and about 65% access the site from a mobile device.
“In other words, most users will only ever see our website in this view,” she said.
The new layout places city newsletters at the top of the page, with public meeting agendas and minutes directly below the newsletters.
A section for residents includes links for the six most common uses of the current site: paying water bills, reporting problems to code enforcement or another department, an employee directory, garbage collection, hiring section and Waco Regional Airport information.
Another section is for companies looking for bidding opportunities and economic development incentives.
The new employee directory will provide email addresses and phone numbers for every listed employee and will include more languages than the currently available English and Spanish versions. Users can also sign up to receive notifications of events, such as prices or auction opportunities.
The Communications and Information Technology departments will continue to make updates after the site goes live.
Councilwoman Kelly Palmer said she frequently searches for contact information for her constituents when they’re having trouble finding a city employee, and having a better directory would be a “huge win.”
The site also features an interactive map showing the city’s community centers, fire stations, parks and libraries, and the city council district in which they are located.
City webmaster Cori Madewell said city departments have always been in charge of information on their pages and have trained their staff on how to make changes and add information since the city began work on the new site in March.
“He will always filter through our (communications and marketing office) to ensure that the work and formatting remains consistent across the entire site, and to ensure that links are handled correctly,” said said Madewell.
The council also discussed a possible new program that would guide any traffic calming measures the city would add to roads in residential neighborhoods.
Director of Public Works Amy Burlarley-Hyland said neighborhood associations should work together to identify places that would benefit from traffic calming measures, review city policy, and then contact the public works department .
She said the solutions could range from simple and cheap, like painting double lines along the road, to expensive and complex solutions, like median barriers, roundabouts or elongated curbs.