The city and CivicPlus unveiled a new municipal website today featuring a new design and a new domain name, cityofmhk.com. The design was in part the product of a recent “hackathon” conducted by CivicPlus, and replaces the previous website, which was nearly five years old.
Kimberly Gerlach, director of marketing at CivicPlus, said the new site is envisioned as promoting better communication between the government and citizens.
“One of the key goals is to engage the citizen through additional functionality,” said CivicPlus manager Cole Cheever, who worked on implementing the new website. “One of the keys was navigation. It’s a lot easier to find the information you are looking for.”
He said the site was expected to be more responsive to people who expect to do their business online. “You need to be able to go to the website and pay your water bill,” he said. “Same thing goes with parks and recreation. Why go to City Hall and fill out a registration form. It saves the resident time to fill it out online.”
Cheever said the new design utilizes so-called “mega-menus,” which allow the user to scroll over a tab such as departments, government, or community, prompting categories specific to that tab to drop down.
He added that a new feature will allow users to create their own homepage similar to iGoogle.
“You can select information that is pertinent to you instead of having to navigate various links,” he said.
Cheever said that new function will be especially beneficial to business.
That individual homepages will automatically update if new business laws are enacted.
Cheever said the website will continue to update by tracking the number of hits certain web pages get.
“You will see navigation change as we continue to make it more user-friendly,” he said.
For the present, users who type in the old website address, ci.manhattan.ks.us, will be re-directed to the new site.