PORT ORCHARD — While sharing the familiar shades of blue of its old design, Kitsap County’s newly redesigned website will offer easier use and be more responsive to residents who use mobile phones.
Doug Bear, county public relations manager, said responsiveness was just one of several important upgrades to the site.
“One of our goals was to get our website to be responsive to the device you use to access it,” Bear said. “Accessing our old website on a cell phone was incredibly challenging. Our old site had a static design. And because our design was non-responsive, you would have to pinch and scroll the page to see anything at all. Users will find the new design much more user-friendly on all devices.”
Bear said the old site was compartmentalized and difficult to navigate. “It wasn’t very convenient for a customer who might need services,” he said. “We wanted it to make it much easier to find what you’re looking for on the web.”
Another major difference is its emphasis on becoming a service-oriented site. On the home and landing pages, there are lists of popular links, resources, online services and quick links to direct citizens to services already used most frequently online. Bear said the web development team used web analytics, common questions asked by callers to Kitsap1, the county information line, and queried front office staff to identify the most-requested services. As a result, those services were more prominently displayed to make finding them easier.
A key feature of the new site is its ease of use by the content providers — those county employees who wish to post new information and make updates. The old system was an HTML-based traditional website that required a certain amount of HTML experience to refresh and update the content, Bear said. In contrast, the new system uses the Sharepoint environment that’s familiar to county employees. And it’s much simpler to use.
“Every website is a work in progress,” Bear said. “We want to be proactive and reactive in working with our community to make the online experience better. We’ll be implementing suggestions and continue to find ways to improve the site.”
In a news release, Charlotte Garrido, chair of the Board of County Commissioners, said the new format is “interesting and gives our citizens an easy way to access the increasing number of online services we offer.
“We want our citizens to stay connected with us and to find the information they need,” Garrido said.
Bear said the website had its “soft launch” the weekend of Feb. 11-12. The response from users who’ve filled out the survey at the bottom of the page say it’s responsive and easier to navigate, he added.
He said the initial launch includes the home page, each elected office, and individual department landing pages. Work continues to move old web pages into the new format, Bear added.
The county website can be accessed at www.kitsapgov.com.