City Launches New Interactive Website
The City of Staunton officially launched its new website, www.staunton.va.us, incorporating a fresh look, improved navigation and new interactive tools.
Developed in partnership with the online government experts at Vision Internet, the new site captures the essence of the City and puts detailed government information at the fingertips of residents and visitors.
“Our website is the first impression many people have of our city,” said Kurt Plowman, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Staunton. “It also is the portal that allows citizens to connect with local government from any location at any time. Our site is one of the most powerful tools we have to keep citizens engaged and informed, which is why this redesign is integral to our overall communications strategy.”
Residents are encouraged to update links to pages bookmarked on the City’s site to avoid broken links.
Many key features of the new website can be accessed directly from a dynamic homepage that includes an “I Want to” tab that takes citizens directly to the information they need. Among the new features are:
- A document library of forms ranging from building to special event permit applications and other licenses
- A searchable, dynamic calendar of community meetings and events that can be filtered by category and easily added to personal Google, iPhone and other calendars
- E-notification sign-up for news, events, and procurement opportunities
- Agendas and meeting minutes for City Council and multiple other City boards, commissions and committees
- A newsroom featuring the latest happenings in the City
- Responsive design that adjusts screen resolution to fit smartphones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices
- Detailed employee and facility directories
The website update is a phased project. The second phase of website development will include the launch of a citizen request system, allowing residents to report an issue, such as a pothole, downed tree, etc., via a service request form on the website, and follow the process online until their issue is resolved. Additionally, the City will be launching a new and easier way for citizens to register for Staunton Parks & Recreation programs and activities through a new online portal. Phase II of development is expected to be completed and implemented by early June.
The Economic Development Department will unveil a new website by early July as part of the third and final phase of website development. Theirs will be a subsite of the City’s main site and will feature its own home page, navigation, and styling, all while remaining cohesive with the City’s brand.
Plowman credited Vision Internet’s advanced content management system (CMS) with boosting Staunton’s government efficiency by making it easy to decentralize the posting of information.
“Non-technical staff in each department can easily use the CMS to update and post their own information, keeping our site current and fresh. This eliminates the bottleneck created when only IT programmers or a communications staffer could update the site and makes government information more transparent,” he said.
The City’s IT and communications staff will continue to assist City departments with oversight and guidance and manage the City’s overall web presence and content.
“Staunton’s forward-thinking government has created a powerful website that not only caters directly to citizens’ needs but to the needs of business owners, developers, investors, elected officials and City employees,” said Ashley Fruechting, Vision Internet’s director of strategic initiatives. “The new site engages citizens, provides information that builds trust, and delivers information when, where and in whatever format citizens want it.”
Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., Vision is a national leader in government website development with more than 700 government, non-profit and education clients in U.S. and Canadian communities with populations that range from less than 1,000 residents to more than 5 million. For more than 20 years, Vision has created cost-effective solutions that increase government efficiency, transparency and interactive communications with citizens. The company’s powerful, easy-to-use visionLive™ content management system continues to evolve with feedback from hundreds of municipal clients. In 2016, Vision was named to Government Technology magazine’s GovTech 100, a listing of leading companies developing innovative or disruptive offerings to improve or transform government. The company also was named a top 10 company serving local government by Engaging Local Government Leaders in its 2016 ELGL Choice Awards.