KALAMAZOO, MI- Kalamazoo launched a new beta website to become the primary city website on Wednesday, May 25.
The new website was designed using the OpenCities platform, a company Grand Rapids and Palo Alto have used, to prioritize accessibility for residents, businesses and visitors. Emphasis in the redesign was placed on making the tools used most by visitors more accessible.
Related: Kalamazoo plans to redesign its website using the same company as Grand Rapids and Palo Alto
“The redesigned site is focused on getting users information they want easily, instead of trying to navigate through multiple pages to find information,” said City of Kalamazoo Public Information Officer Jay Shatara. “It should be more accessible to find where you need to get going much easier than before.”
In the new website, there’s a heavier emphasis on using the search tool to find information quicker. Some information may be displaced from its previous location due to the more “service-focused” design.
“This was a collaborative effort with city staff and administration as to what we wanted with this new site design,” Shatara said. “We kept settling on easier to navigate.”
Residents will now be able to pay water and sewer bills more easily and access the website more conveniently from various devices.
Two new features of the website are calendars for upcoming meetings and events as well as a location-based service where visitors can view projects, parks and facilities near them. Through this, residents can also look up recycling bulk trash and brush collection schedules. The city service and service expectations will also be more clearly defined.
The current website will be archived following May 25 but will still be available for use up to a month. The timeline is subject to change if any issues are identified or there’s significant negative feedback. Individuals can give feedback through a survey on the City of Kalamazoo website.
“Once the URL is redirected we will keep the old site available in its current state (it will be accessible but no longer be updated) for at least another month,” Shatara said. “The city hasn’t set a firm date at this point, but it will be available at least through June.”
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