The Town of Cheshire has introduced a new website replacing an old version that was widely assessed as not user-friendly.
The new site had a “soft launch” in mid-March, according to Assistant Town Manager Arnett Talbot, who led the project. “We have more than 400 pages and 2,000 links.”
After assessing the condition of the old website, it was decided that the format needed more than just a dusting off. “We needed to start over,” Talbot said.
“Literally, it has been a three-year project,” she said. “Our old website — well, you know, you used it — we wanted to do something that was much easier to use. There is so much information on there, it had to be much more organized.”
An in-house committee was formed to help develop the website, which included connecting with the individual departments in town hall. The committee worked with them on their particular needs and learned what data they needed to have for the website. In-house committee members worked on the website project in addition to their regular duties, said Talbot.
A consultant was hired and CivicLive, a tech company that specializes in municipal websites, helped create pages, migrate data from the old site, and organize data.
Talbot said the data migration was not perfect and had to be tweaked further. The consultant helped her check faulty links and go over the site in detail.
“We’ve been fortunate to have people email us letting us know if a link didn’t work or other little things,” she said. “That’s really helpful.”
The website features well-organized categories, with instant document access, most-frequently asked questions, latest news, and features such as the ability to adjust the text size.
Recreation has its own tab on the website, and Useful Links take users to Cheshire Public Schools, the Historical Society, and Chesprocott Health District.
Talbot said the town plans to keep the content fresh.
“I am pleased with the work, but I’ll be more pleased when everything is done,” she said.