JVG_201120_WEBSITE

A screenshot of the city of Janesville’s new internet homepage.

JANESVILLE

The city of Janesville launched a new website Wednesday that officials think will help people find important information more efficiently.

The city started planning for the updated website in 2018 and signed a contract with its website host in February, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, to complete the work in 2020, said Maggie Darr, assistant to the city manager.

Cost to redesign the city’s main website at grow janesville.com, its economic development website, cost $47,700, Darr said.

Darr said the new site has a “more refreshed and modern look” and increases user efficiency.

The city scrapped about 100 pages to make navigation simpler. None of the page cuts resulted in reduction of information, Darr said.

The site attracts about 3,400 page views a day, Darr said. It is a crucial space for city employees, residents and others to receive information, she said.

City council member Susan Johnson during a recent city budget meeting said she had concerns about the old website’s usability, adding that the text-heavy site was difficult to navigate.

This was connected to the city’s decision to delay an Americans With Disability Act study as a cost-saving measure in 2021. The council chose to instead head a community campaign encouraging people to submit accessibility concerns to the city.

Johnson did not think the old website would have been easy enough for people to navigate to file complaints or learn about the campaign.

Resident Shannon Hicks emailed city council members in October with concerns about the old website’s accessibility issues.

Darr said the city website’s host, Granicus, is among the leading providers of government websites, and city officials lean on Granicus for accessibility issues.

The city’s website is compliant with Website Accessibility Guidelines, a set of standards for website accessibility.

The new website also has a new URL, janesvillewi.gov. That change was made because .gov sites have added security that is no longer available with .us sites.

The old URL will direct users to the new one for a year. Darr said people should update their bookmarks or links to the city’s site as soon as possible.

Officials are working to identify where the city’s website is linked to so links can be updated appropriately, Darr said.

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