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City of Kingman stodgy website gets a makeover


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This screenshot depicts the homepage of the city of Kingman’s completely redesigned website, which will launch later this month.

'Visually stunning' replaces cobbledtogether.gov look

KINGMAN - Traveling the information superhighway is about to get a lot more pleasant over at cityofkingman.gov.

The city's current website is full of information that is useful to residents and businesses, but it is also a website that was cobbled together, one custom-coded piece at a time over the years, using modern-day technology's equivalent of duct tape and baling wire.

The result was an overbearing homepage and stunted visuals. People who logged on didn't stick around for long.

"They want to get in and get out," said Joe Clos, the city's director of Information Technology. "The website's too aggressive. Too busy, uninviting."

IT Administrator Gerry Delgado said the site is "in your face. We wanted to soften it up."

Later this month, the city's IT department will unveil a completely redesigned website that is visually stunning, easily navigable and still full of the same vital information residents need to know.

For the past several months, Terry Cornett, the city's Internet Technology coordinator, has completely redesigned the website.

"We wanted to make it user-friendly and open when you get to the site," he said.

Cornett's time and effort paid off, said Clos. And the price was right, with a general fund expenditure of less than $1,000 for developmental software.

Clos pointed out that Cornett's salary would have been paid regardless and he performed his regular workload throughout the redesign process.

While Cornett was allowed to use his creativity to design the website, loading content could be painstaking drudgery at times.

"There was a lot of data, a lot of files," he said.

Clos said users will find the redesign is more functional and in many ways far more understated than the current site.

From a visual perspective, however, the redesign could qualify for Extreme Makeover, Government Website Edition, if there were such a thing.

The homepage features a brilliant photograph of the downtown train depot taken by photographer Herberta Schroeder. Schroeder and Josh Noble, the city's director of tourism, took the bulk of the featured photographs, said Clos.

Also, citizens will be able to submit photographs taken in the city.

Users can scroll through several other photographs on the homepage and on several other pages, as well.

The page for Parks and Recreation, for example, features gorgeous photographs Schroeder took at city parks and Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course.

Clos said he wouldn't want to announce a firm launch date - something about the failed unveiling of the Affordable Care Act website might have influenced his decision - but is certain it will happen in February.

"We refer to them as undocumented features of the system," said Clos when asked if there were bugs to work out.

"We are fine-tuning," he said. "We don't want to create our own problem."

City Manager John Dougherty said he was "very impressed" with Cornett's work.




 

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