By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Northborough – David Kane, director of Northborough’s MIS/GIS department, recently shared details about the town’s new website which boasts a new look, new features – and a new platform.
“We used a company called Virtual Town Hall and they are now called Civic Plus I believe and we brought our old website on board with them about ten years ago,” Kane said. “A couple of years ago they started a brand new platform to build websites with a lot of cool features and so forth. They have been in the process of moving all of their clients off of this old system and on to their new product.”
“We felt that our old site had a lot of great material but the design was dated and wasn’t as user friendly as newer sites are. We wanted to offer something that was easier to use and more visually pleasing that enabled us to offer new features,” he added.
He said it was time to move on to something that was more up to date and offer the residents and business in town streamlined access to information, whether it’s to pay a bill, submit an application or find a meeting agenda or minutes in a more user friendly manner.
A couple of features that Kane listed were a broader array of things that one can subscribe to depending on what one’s interests are and the ability to report an issue to a specific department has become easier to do.
One of the functions that have improved on the new website is the ability to notify people of emergencies through the urgent news bar in bold red on the website’s home page. It is currently providing updates to residents about the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus situation.
Kane said that the process essentially involved two phases. The first, which they have just completed over the summer, was to get the new site up on the new platform. The next phase, which will happen over the next few months, will be to add new pages and functions.
He noted that one of the biggest improvements with this new system is that when a user visits the new website, the system can detect what kind of device the user is using.
“The new system has a responsive design so it knows if you are on a phone or tablet or a PC and it displays the content for you based on what product you are looking from,” Kane remarked.
“We are going through and making sure that all the links are working and there are a couple of pages that we’ve rebuilt. There is more to do and now that we are on the new platform there are more opportunities to add improvements – not just duplicate what we had previously,” he reported.
“We’ve got more work to do to fine tune and tweak some of this stuff and make it even better but so far it’s been well received and the transition has gone well,” Kane reported.
Kane welcomes comments about the new website which can be directed to him through the new website by visiting https://www.town.northborough.ma.us and clicking on the Contact Us feature available in the upper right hand corner of the homepage.