Over the last several months Frederick County staff, in conjunction with our website provider Vision Internet, has been working on a redesign of the website. Time was spent evaluating the weaknesses in our current site and reviewing other sites to determine which elements would best serve our citizens.
The main goal was to make our site easier to navigate for the end user. Over the last 4 years since we launched our current site our navigation had become quite cumbersome and confusing to the citizen user. A great deal of time and thought was put into improving this.
According to Andrew Farrar, Program Coordinator in the Information Technologies Department, “When you visit any website, you want to be able to quickly find what you are looking for without having to click through multiple links to get there and our new navigation will provide that for the user.” The newly designed homepage and main menu will make it much easier to get to the information one needs. Secondary goals of the redesign were reviewing content to assure that it is current and clear, and to update our design to today’s standards.
“We’ve developed a series of buttons throughout the site that lead people directly to the top things indicated by analytics of our current site, starting on the home page and continuing through to each department homepage.” Karen Vacchio, Public Information Officer, continues, “The main menu, rather than having our current fly-out menus, is much cleaner and easier to navigate.”
As you scroll down the homepage you will see a “spotlight” section that will be used to bring attention to things of particular interest to the public such as parks and recreation events, recycling programs, and signing up for e-notifications. The news/events/meetings section provides a much clearer picture than what we currently display.
Other improvements include consistent placement of Contact Us sections for each department, a sticky menu on all interior pages that allows easy access to the main navigation and the home page, and a section called Services. This provides one click access to things such as contacting the Board of Supervisor members, signing up for emergency alerts, or scheduling a building inspection.
“Our staff has done a lot of work to try and improve the user experience for everyone who visits to our website,” said Kris Tierney, Interim County Administrator.
The new site will go live on Tuesday, July 18 shortly after 3 p.m.