“This site is very easy to keep updated. It’s much more intuitive. I appreciate all the work the CivicPlus support team does to upgrade and maintain the system, as well as listen to our complaints and needs. We may not always get the answer we desire, but we are at least heard and acknowledged. My users, once properly trained, have few, if any, problems completing normal content updates – which was not always the case with our old site.”
Angie Kilbourne, Web Content Specialist
Sloan said the City’s previous website was “dated, dark, and clunky.” Irving’s Web Content Specialist, Angie Kilbourne, said there were several features that didn’t even work anymore.
“The CMS [Content Management System] was old and outdated,” Kilbourne said. “If I remember correctly, the whole system was about nine years old. Users had never been trained properly in using it, and we knew there were systems out there that could do a better job with less effort.”
Keeping content updated proved to be a challenge as well. According to Kilbourne, each department had its own content editor. “Most of these employees were not formally trained communications experts, nor technically savvy in website building/maintenance,” she said. To complicate matters, various pieces of content were sometimes used on multiple pages, and when updates were made by the responsible department, they wouldn’t be picked up throughout the site.
From a communications standpoint, Sloan said the website was not the City showcase that they wanted it to be, both in graphic presentation and in the cumbersome manner content was delivered. “Everything needed improvement,” she said. “The site did not reflect the progressive city Irving is. It was not representative of our image.”
The City of Irving started making plans to upgrade to a responsive site – one that was user-friendly for both the public and the employees who keep it updated. They found that the CivicPlus solution offered the features they were looking for.
“Our new website is much more representative of our image,” Sloan said. “It showcases the City’s great amenities and easily leads residents to the information they’re looking for. It’s very easy to use. We have had many compliments.”
According to Kilbourne, one of the most important aspects of the new site was a mobile-friendly format. “That was hands-down my most important feature when we evaluated vendors,” she said. “Now, we have that and more. The layout is very contemporary.”
The City is also pleased with the simplicity and government-centric nature of the CivicPlus solution. “It’s extremely easy for nontechnical users to use, giving them confidence early on,” Kilbourne said. “The modules are well-thought-out for use by a government entity. That’s extremely helpful – you wouldn’t get that with an off-the-shelf, generic CMS.”
The Info Advanced module allows Irving to display the same piece of information on multiple pages. Edits are only made by those with permission and publish globally, solving their previous issue with inconsistent updates. “I like the ability to limit the staff’s reach within the site, keeping them out of modules and areas they don’t need access to,” Kilbourne said.
Drop-down menus have helped organize the site, making it easier for citizens to navigate. The addition of Google Translate has been a “critical” communication feature in light of Irving’s diversity. According to Sloan, the new site is much more interactive and they connect with citizens more regularly, using the NotifyMe module. She likes the carousel feature that allows them to highlight key information and says the calendar feature is “fantastic.”
“I believe we’re able to be more responsive,” Kilbourne said. “We can push information out that we deem important, but we’ve also given people the means to contact us reliably 24/7.”