ARLINGTON – The city went live Thursday with a new website that is more dynamic, easier to navigate and customized with a graphic look and feel that is uniquely Arlington, officials said.
“This is going to be a much more user-friendly site for customers,” said city communications manager Kristin Banfield, who guided the yearlong project. “It will be much more mobile-friendly, too, so you can easily find what you need from your smartphone or tablet.”
The city’s previous website had been in use since 2011, and the operating platform is no longer supported, she added.
The biggest changes are visual appearance, which now features a photo slideshow background of scenes around Arlington, and the retooling of navigation using pull-down menus to access other informational pages within the site.
For people who subscribe to e-mail notices for things like City Council agendas, events, general news and updates, those have been imported to the new site.However, if you want to get more interactive with city government, the new site has more ways to receive automatic alerts via email or text messages – or both – to your smartphone, tablet or other device.
Banfield said residents should sign up for the new Notify Me feature, which includes news flashes and emergency alerts that would have been handy ways to learn about closures and conditions on local roads during this week’s ice and snowfall.
For visitors who have bookmarked pages on the previous website, the links may have changed, Banfield said. If you land on the wrong page or get an error message, she recommended returning to the welcome page and typing the item in the search box. “The information is on our new site, it’s just your bookmark that needs to be updated,” she said.
While the look has changed, other familiar links are still where you would expect; for example, the calendar, events, pay online, permits, report a concern, agendas and minutes, and donate button for the social service opioid recovery fund.
The city is also working on developing a community calendar that will enable people to submit their own events.
“We are excited to bring this updated website to our community and look forward to introducing some new features to you in the coming weeks and months,” Banfield said.
She likened the website redesign project to “having a baby, then you work so hard to put everything in place, and now you realize you have to maintain it.”
The city is contracting with Manhatten, Kan.-based government websites provider CivicPlus for $50,000 over five years. Other local government clients include Marysville, Everett and Snohomish County.
The website is also integrated with the city’s social media – Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.
With CivicPlus, the city also will have significantly better analytics to track visits to the website, where users went, and what they looked at while on the site.
For details, contact Banfield at 360-403-3444.