When Web users type www.decaturga.com into their search bar, they will see a new look for the city of Decatur and should be able to access information much easier than before.
The city of Decatur launched its updated Web site Feb. 1 after almost two years of planning and development. The previous site had been in existence for more than seven years according to Linda Harris, assistant director for community and economic development. Harris described the previous site as “ancient in the web world.”
Harris said the new site features a more powerful search engine, links to interactive city services, blogs, news and an events calendar. It also features a changing spotlight on key initiatives of the city.
After complaints from users that the former site made it difficult to find specific topics and a Web site audit that supported the navigational concerns, the idea of a new site was launched.
The contract for development was awarded in March 2010 to a company that specializes in developing Web sites specifically for cities and counties. Work began last summer on development of a general layout and graphic look, Harris said. “We looked at a lot of other sites but didn’t see anything that said Decatur,” she said.
Images from Decatur events and festivals were combined with locally produced graphic images to give the site a distinct look. Estimated cost for development and design of the new site is $46,000 according to Harris.
Information from the old site has been updated and transferred to the new site, as have interactive features such as the ability to participate in Open City Hall, pay parking tickets and taxes online and submit a request or sign up for CodeRed notifications. The new site also allows users to sign up to receive meeting notices, special events details, emergency information and general news about Decatur.
In conjunction with the city’s new site, the Decatur Tourism Bureau also unveiled its own new site designed specifically for visitors and tourists. The tourism site can be accessed via the Visitors tab on the city’s navigation bar or at www.visitdecaturgeorgia.com.
A highlight of the tourism Web site is the “Go Local” section that features six-word stories and itinerary videos from various Decatur residents and business owners who describe Decatur in just six words. The tourism site also features Decatur’s newest blog—Visit Decatur GA.com with guest bloggers posting about events and happenings in and around Decatur.
Of the new site, Harris said, “We’re really happy with it and would love to have feedback from users. It accomplishes what we set out to achieve.” Comments, feedback and suggestions about the two new sites can be submitted by visiting Open City Hall or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.