New District Website

From day one of taking the webmaster position it has been a goal of mine to give the current district website a face-lift. After a couple of years of investigating, setbacks and many conversations it  became a reality of School/Community Relations, the Technology Department and myself to give the current district website not only a face-lift, but a complete redesign of look, feel, purpose, and structure. After a year of planning, a year of working out the details, and Request for Qualifications (RFQ) we have contracted with a local firm, Flying Hippo, to redesign the district web site, including Community Education and the individual school sites. This project is funded by Microsoft Settlement funds.

During the planning process we surveyed students, parents, employees and the community to gather data about their use of the current district website, along with their likes and dislikes. This was done in the spring of 2011 and here is a summary of the results: 

  • Over 1,000 people responded to the survey which included: 641 parents, 348 WDMCS employees, 288 district residents, and 63 students.
  • 64.9% of the respondents are 40-59 years of age.
  • The majority access our website at least once a week if not every day.
  • The primary reasons they access our website is to view their child’s school website (42.5%), to view the elementary lunch menu (36.7%) and to download publications or forms (27.3%). Other answers included: linking to Infinite Campus, staff member accessing their email and making a payment (lunch, transportation and child care fees).
  • Calendars, Schools and Staff Directory are useful to people and would like to see them more user friendly.
  • The majority of people (88.4%) feel that the navigation on the homepages makes sense with 77.9% of people feeling that the website contains the information that they need and is easy to understand, but can be hard to find (57.8%).
  • Almost half feel that the graphic design of the website is not attractive (49.2%).
  • The results of the overall rating of the current website are as follows: excellent 6.5%, very good 39.3%, good 40.4%, fair 10.7%, and poor 2.4%.
  • Most of our users primarily access the district’s website from a computer at either work or home.
As we gathered this information and looked at our Google Analytics (a tool Google provides to give insights about how your users are using your website) we set our primary objectives for the new website and shared this information in the RFQ as we searched for the right company to contract with. 
Our primary objectives are to create a website that is audience centric, has up-to-date information for our audience, and is easy to navigate. These objectives also include:
  • Improving communications with our key audiences.
  • Creating an awareness of the happenings within our district
  • Delivering a consistent image and message throughout the entire site
  • Generating an interest in our organization
  • offering intuitive navigation which will include a comprehensive site search
  • providing a centralized area for audiences to connect with us via our social media feeds and links
  • providing links to other websites pertinent to our audience member’s needs
  • visually appealing
  • new features will include a better online calendar system, an enhanced staff directory, news and announcement features. 
We look forward to sharing the new and improved site with you in the next couple of months. Check back as we continue to share more about the website’s journey to completion and sneak peeks of the new design.