Experience led Ladysmith council to pick Vancouver-based Graphically Speaking to redevelop their website.
The choice came down to Graphically Speaking and Ladysmith’s Paul Mycroft Design.
Both were present at the Jan. 17 Government Services meeting —Mycroft in person and Graphically Speaking over the phone — to tell council their plans and ideas for revamping the town’s current site.
Mycroft was first to speak and told council about his proposal to use the popular WordPress software to build the site. He talked about easy updating and easy navigation.
Dale Slattery with Graphically Speaking told council about concerns he saw their current site and said his company would better organize the information to cut down on phone calls coming to city hall. His company uses a content management program called Sitefinity.
While councillors agreed they would like to be able to shop locally, Graphically Speaking’s experience with municipal websites led them to recommend, and ultimately choose, Graphically Speaking.
“That was a hard decision to make,” said Coun. Jill Dashwood.
She noted websites need to be redone from time to time.
“It’s just not been that user friendly,” said Dashwood of the town’s current site at www.ladysmith.ca.
“People have been having trouble manoeuvring their way around it.”
Dashwood said she thought both presentations were great and while Mycroft’s company has done work with the town before and council was confident he could do the job, it was clear Graphically Speaking had the experience they sought.
“We’ve got a company that has done so many for so many different municipalities,” she said.
The new website, Dashwood said, should better serve the public and she hopes it will engage the people of Ladysmith by offering them a chance to provide feedback and comments and opening a dialogue.
“Like an area people could go to for what’s happening at council,” she said.
The new design, she said, should easily display information.
Slattery, during his presentation to council, raised that point, noting people have to continuously scroll down the website after clicking on an option to find the results.
Slattery spoke of optimizing ‘above the fold’ space, meaning what people see without scrolling down and making the right side of the page (normally reserved for ads on Google) better attract attention.
Graphically Speaking has designed the sites for such municipalities as the Vancouver Host City 2010 site, City of Richmond and Township of Esquimalt.
The town is also looking at providing the opportunity for people to pay their taxes online as well as parking violations.
The project should take around 12 weeks.