The city’s newly overhauled website is bigger, faster, more colorful and stocked with more information.
And it deleted the hyphen from the website address, the one that people would confuse with a dash.
Impressed at a glance, Councilman Darryl Haynes took the website on a trial run, beyond the continuous slideshow of pretty pictures of Mansfield and the other whistles and bells.
“I was looking up a copy of our charter, and I got to it really quick,” he said. “Before I had to search and search and search, and when I found something I didn’t know if I really had what I had.”
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Now, it’s just two clicks away – the city government tab and then “City Charter, Rules and Codes” button.
“I like the new organization of it,” Haynes said. “It appears to be very user-friendly, and I think it has more information on it, absolutely.”
He’s not alone. The city recorded 33,506 visits to the old website the week before the Sept. 29 launch of the new site. The week afterward, there were 50,403 hits.
Usage has since eased a little. The seven-day period ending Thursday saw 36,907 hits, said city webmaster Glenn McLelland.
The upgrade project – the website’s first overhaul in more than five years – resulted from a collaboration of the communications and marketing department, headed by Belinda Willis, the information technology department and the city’s branding and marketing consultant, Fort Worth-based BrandEra.
“One of our goals was to not only work on the design element to make it visually appealing,” Willis said. “We also wanted to make it more functional.”
Toward that end, the website was engineered to adapt to the smaller screens of smart phones, computer tablets and other mobile devices with redesigns for each. Before, someone visiting the website on a phone would simply get a miniature, often unreadable, version of the full, desktop-size website.
The new site also provides alternative, subject-based groupings of information to anticipate what the site visitor wants. For example, rather than have to click on various city departments to find out about library services, classes at the activities center, fire safety, utility bills, pothole repairs and vital records, just click the “Residents” tab for that and other targeted information. A similar array of information especially pertinent to merchants, such as zoning procedures and traffic counts, is available under the “Business” tab.
The website address now is www.mansfieldtexas.gov, slightly different from the previous one at www.mansfield-tx.gov. Notably missing is the hyphen.
“In the past, the hyphen and abbreviation in the address were often stumbling blocks,” Willis said. “The new website is just easier to remember and easier to type.”
Among the other changes, the online calendar of events now is fuller and more interactive. And the quarterly Mansfield Citizen newsletter, which had been paper-mailed to residents, has been moved completely online at www.mansfieldcitizenonline.com, and also can be reached from a link at the city website.