FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham unveiled a new user-friendly website today, January 24.
The website redesign has been in the works since last year, when the City did a survey of residents, business leaders, community members, and others.
Besides the desktop launch there is also a mobile-friendly launch today.
The first major change users will notice is the search button is easier to find, said Chief Information Officer Ryan Egan.
There is a yellow rectangular box in the upper right corner, easily identified for searches of the website.
There is also a new meeting portal, said Egan.
Titled ‘Public Meeting Information”, it lists the agenda and minutes for City Council, School Committee and every board, commission, and committee in the City of Framingham.
Other big buttons on the homepage include “trash & recycling”, “make a payment”, “building permits”, and “employment.”
The City of Framingham will have a full-time webmaster to keep the website up-to-date, said City of Framingham Chief Financial Officer Louis Miller.
Renan Pinheiro transferred from the City’s HR Department to be the City’s webmaster.
“We want to drive traffic to the front page and then have users only need one or two clicks to get the information they need,” said Ryan. “This is why we pushed for a webmaster. We want people to have a quick, easy experience.”
Also on the home page is a news center and popular services buttons (see graphic).
“Popular services are areas of the website that get the most traffic,” explained Pinheiro, who is fluent in English and Portuguese.
He also explained that the website can be translated into dozens and dozens of languages by just a touch of button.
The website has a clean design visually, said Pinheiro.
There are a lot of large photos on the website, and graphically it is not cluttered.
There is also a calendar section on the home page for City and other community events, like the Framingham Public Library or the Callahan Center for example.
City events will be highlighted in the calendar, said Egan.
City events include the Pride celebration, Memorial Day ceremony, State of the City address, etc.
At the bottom of the home page is the address of the Memorial Building (City Hall), a phone number, and City Hall hours , as well as some additional navigational links. All things you would expect at the bottom of a website.
The main tabs on the new redesigned website are Government, Discover Framingham, Doing Business and How Do I …?
The How Do I (see below) includes information links, contact links, how to submit things links, and also how to sign up for alerts from the City of Framingham.
SOURCE asked if Discover Framingham was replacing Choose Framingham, the marketing campaign.
“The goal of Discover Framingham was to be sort of a hopefully one-stop shop for things people need in Framingham,” explained Egan.
Egan said Choose Framingham is not a part of the website.
People can find links to the Framingham Public Library, the MWRTA, etc. There is also a link to the Framingham Public Schools website.
Also in Discover Framingham, there is a short history of the community.
Under “Government” is all of the City of Framingham departments, including the Mayor’s office, Public Works, City Clerk, and the City Council, the City’s legislative branch of government.
There is also a link to the City Charter under government, said Egan.
Boards & Commission have their own links under government; and each Board, Commission, and Committee has its own page.
For example, here is the link to the Traffic Commission page.
All of the City’s ordinances can also be found under Government.
There is also a FAQ page on the website.
The cost of the website upgrade was relatively small.
“We get an upgrade from CIVICPlus every 4 years,” said Miller. “The upgrade features costs $4,432 per year.”
Miller said the City spent “$17,000 for some additional features.”
Those features include adding to the number of SMS customers, upgrading the global navigation tool replacing the ADA Accessibility tool, and adding an “AudioEye, we added a Chatbot feature, and more secure login integration,” said Miller.