Clicking refresh

City of Laramie IT Manager Jonathan Rhoades demonstrates how to use the new city website on a tablet Thursday morning during a press conference at City Hall.

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

To provide residents a more fluid online experience, Laramie is rolling out a website update Monday, Laramie IT Manager Jonathan Rhoades said.

The updated website is slated to improve mobile and tablet user interactions as well as provide visitors easier access to some of the most searched sections of the site.

“The current city website has had the same basic design for over six years,” Rhoades said Thursday at a news conference. “It needed a fresh look, and it needed to be more mobile friendly to meet today’s browsing habits.”

Accessible at www.cityoflaramie.org, the city’s current web address, the new website is mobile-friendly and responsive to tilt-screen technology, supports larger monitor sizes and was a designed to be sleek and modern.

Visitors will immediately notice several new buttons at the bottom of the homepage linking residents to some of the highest trafficked areas of the website, Rhoades said. The buttons — Parks and Rec, Licenses and Permits, Join Our Team, Notify Me and Report a Concern — were selected based on current users’ most frequent website searches, he added.

“There are new navigation categories — Living and Working, Doing Business and How Do I — to help (residents) and businesses get the information they need as quickly as possible,” Rhoades said.

Work on the website update began in June, and Rhoades said he put hundreds of hours into the design alongside his team.

“I’m excited about a lot of the backend stuff (with the updated website) that you don’t get to see,” he said. “It is much easier to edit and because of that, I think we can have better content and more up-to-date content, and really that’s what’s most important. It’s nice that it looks nice, but if the content is out of date, it’s not really useful.”

CivicPlus, an integrated software company specializing in local government and municipal website designs, assisted with the migration and development of the new website, a news release states.

“The CivicPlus team helped to ensure that the design, navigation and overall performance of the new website is much improved,” the release states.

Visitors might notice several new images on the updated site, but Rhoades said despite their professional quality, the photos are the stock images users have come to expect when visiting modern websites.

“As many as possible, we wanted (the images) to be in and around Laramie,” he explained. “The city contracted with a photographer to go and get photos in and around Laramie. We can show lots of things and lots of great pictures, but this showcases Laramie instead of just using stock images.”

Laramie City Manager Janine Jordan said the website update was one of many strides toward a modern approach to serving residents.

“The Laramie City Council have been pushing for about five years for greater use of technology to improve the efficiency internal to city operations, but also to improve service to our customers and residents, who are trying to access city information,” Jordan said. “(The council has) had dialogue with their constituents that this better, mobile-friendly opportunity would be desirable.”

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