Westport redesigns, upgrades municipal website
Published 4:00 pm, Thursday, April 14, 2011
Westport's municipal website recently got a makeover, with a slick, cleaner look that includes features like a changing image gallery on the home page and pop-up menus that appear when a cursor is run across the main tabs.
However, the redesign is about more than appearances.
Eileen Zhang, director of the town's Office of Information Technology, said the municipal website is much more user-friendly, and as a result, more people will be likely to use it to pay tax bills and parking tickets, buy beach stickers, print and pay for land records (forthcoming) and take advantage of other services from the comfort of their desk or couch. Ultimately, she added, the town will be able to save money on paper bills, paper, postage and processing.
"It will cut down our costs and the taxpayers will benefit," Zhang said.
"We're very proud of the site, which offers Westport residents and non-residents improved online services and capabilities," said First Selectman Gordon Joseloff.
The changes to the website became necessary when Microsoft no longer supported the software running the previous system.
The revamped site -- www.westportct.gov -- also has a "mobile version" that is user-friendly to those logging onto the Internet via smartphones or tablet computers.
Directors of various town departments also have the ability to update their respective pages more expeditiously than in the past. With the old website, they had to wait for Zhang or someone in her department to upload a press release. Now, however, department heads have the ability to upload new content themselves. If a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting is going to be cancelled because of the weather, such information can be posted more quickly.
"We are trying to make it as simple, quick and user-friendly as possible," Zhang said.
Also, the system is capable of integrating with social-media platforms. Zhang said she will try to encourage departments to create their own Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The new website was designed and developed by Santa Monica, Calif.-based Vision Internet. It cost $39,000 and took about a year to develop.