The Northland Regional Council has just launched a refreshed version of its website, at a cost of $35,000.
The Council says the refresh will make it easier for users to access the most popular topics and services.
Chairman Bill Shepherd says the update is the first design change to the site, which currently has more than 1000 individual pages, since it was launched eight years ago.
“Increasing demand for online services makes the website one of our most important channels for interacting with our communities and ratepayers, with about 17,000 users visiting it every month,” Shepherd says.
He says the way information is structured under headings has not changed despite the revamp to ensure users can still easily find what they’re looking for.
“However, we’ve researched the key topics that attract visitors to our site and these topics now form the centrepiece of our home page,” Sheperd explains.
These include environmental (river and rainfall) data; maps and webcams; the council’s plans, policies and meetings schedule; and information on pests and weeds.
Shepherd says other home page features made more prominent include contact details and location maps for the council’s four Northland offices, and transactions that can be carried out online, such as payment for invoices, job applications and submissions.
“Northland’s Civil Defence emergency status now has a high-profile position on the home page and will be updated during an emergency,” he says.
Shepherd says a new drop-down menu also makes it easier to access other sections of the website, while a larger font size and enhanced colour contrast is intended to improve readability for all users, but especially those with vision impairments.
The regional council will continue to improve the site as feedback is received from users, Shepherd adds.