Hot Springs won a Savvy Award in the Digital Interactive - Overall Website category, and an Award of Excellence in the Most Creative with Least Dollars Spent category. More than 600 entries were submitted in this year's competition.
Named a nationwide winner of CivicPlus' "Extreme Website Makeover Contest" last May, Hot Springs received a $42,725 package at no cost to its taxpayers. The package included a custom-designed premium CivicPlus website; three days' onsite training; and the waiver of annual fees for maintenance and support for the next two years. Following acceptance of the award by the Hot Springs Board of Directors, six months were spent rebuilding the site, which debuted in January.
Regarding Hot Springs' award application, the judges said: "What the judging committee loved most about this entry was that the communications department was faced with an issue and they found a way to rectify it. Instead of accepting that they couldn't redesign their website, they instead found way to do it and to do it for… no cost at all to their city. As public relations professionals, we can all attest to facing an issue very similar to this one. And, this entry teaches us how to persevere and stick to our guns. The judging committee also thought that the write-up for this entry was very good. The objective, goals and measurable data
was equally good, as well."
Hot Springs' website is decentralized and requires no knowledge of HTML for its upkeep. It has several unique features, including citizen-contributed photos on its home page; information organized by service rather than by department; simplified, one-click navigation; and citizen engagement modules where residents can register opinions and contribute ideas for community advancement. Web Development Team members from each department customize their pages with targeted information that best serves their Web visitors.
"Special thanks go to PI Assistant and webmaster Jeff Fields for his leadership in facilitating the city's Website Makeover and ongoing Web Team training," said Public Information Director Terry Payne. "Our Web team also deserves recognition for their ongoing efforts to provide timely, accurate and comprehensive information to all our online visitors."