Municipal website gets a facelift
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
Those visiting the Municipality of Sioux Lookout’s website may have noticed some changes recently.
The hope is that the new design will make the finding of information easier, and provide a more user-friendly experience.
Michelle Larose, Sioux Lookout Municipal CAO, addressed the website redesign, stating, “The Municipality wanted to enhance ways in which the public can access information by making it more user-friendly and incorporate platforms that allow the user to access information online that was not available in the past. The pandemic has made the Municipality think of ways that is easier for our residents to do business. More enhancements are to come in the future.”
Chris Pollard is the Municipality of Sioux Lookout’s IT and Communications Specialist. As he explains, the update was necessary to keep up with the ever-changing online environment, stating, “The Municipality’s website was last overhauled in 2012, and a lot has changed online in the last decade.
The most prominent change has been the rise of mobile devices, which account for about half of all web traffic. The previous site was not designed with mobile use in mind, which could make it challenging to use on phones and tablets. The new site is fully responsive, offering a comparable experience no matter which device you are using to view it. We also took this opportunity to streamline the site, which could be frustrating to navigate for visitors and difficult to maintain for staff.”
The Municipality hopes the improved design will address issues some users experienced while trying to access the website via mobile devices.
Pollard notes, “The responsive design will be the most obvious to anyone using their phone or tablet to view the website. We also worked hard to minimize the number of clicks needed to find what you are looking for on the site. Things that may have taken you through five or six pages on the old site should not take more than two now. There is a new way for the Municipality to deal with documents on the site, like by-laws and current vacancies, that is more informative to visitors and easier for staff to maintain. We have also added site analytics, which will allow us to optimize the site further in the coming months.”
Pollard continued, “There are a variety of improvements to the previous site, including (but not limited to) better alert windows on the homepage for important events and notices, an improved calendar system, great usability improvements on phones and tablets, better document management, and a number of changes and updates in the back end for staff.” Pollard also noted that despite a few questions from the public on where to find things under the new website design, overall, the reaction has been very positive, and adds that the Municipality welcomes the public’s feedback. While the site has been redesigned, it’s web address remains the same and can be accessed at www.siouxlookout.ca.