It’s no secret that most town municipalities have bad websites. In fact, they’re almost notorious for how terrible their web design is. And unfortunately, my home town in no exception. Dark, hard to read, poor layout, you name it and my town website probably has it. But all hope is not lost as I broke down my town’s website and made suggestions about where they could fix some of the more… troubling areas of the site.
Below I’ve attached some photos of the website to get a rough idea of what visitors see when the meet the homepage. I also included the welcome page, which is pretty much copied exactly in format for all the other tabs.
Immediately just from looking for a moment or two I can say that as far as town websites go mind does okay. That’s not to say that there’s not some thing to be immediately changed but the tabs for the most part are easy to understand, there’s a functioning search bar, social media links and a weather feature. So in all honestly I think my town might be one of the better websites out there!
But like I said earlier, that’s not to say that my town is going to be winning any awards in web design any time soon. Below I’ve attached my site map where it more clearly breaks down all the different aspects of the site.
If your first thought was “Wow I’m scrolling for a really long time here,” don’t worry, I noticed the exact same thing. Right from the start the “Departments” tab has too many choices and is really overwhelming. In addition to that I’m not sure why the recreation tab isn’t under the departments tab and there seems to be a lot of things that could be reorganized to make this simpler to understand.
Downsizing and combining is my main recommendation for the site. To start, I would personally combine the home page and the welcome page. I think that it would be great to see upcoming events feature immediately as you load up the website, it would bring a real sense of community. The same could be said for the Welcome Booklet being on the home page, what better way to feel at home in your new home?
Next I think that governance and could all be combined together and create more useful sub tabs. They would fit under one “community” tab. The name community was chosen because this tab and all of its features would be designed for people currently living in Mountainside that have questions regarding things that are happening in the community.
I would also create a Shop Local tab, to feature local businesses and community members selling things to create a more community first focused atmosphere. Lastly, I would rearrange some of the sub tabs in the recreation main tab, mostly because I believe that the senior citizen tab was too difficult to locate and any senior looking to sign up for a program would have trouble figuring out where to go. I would also leave the contact page but include an email section with an email to contact if there was a question that couldn’t be answered.