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Town site refreshes look, improves ADA compliance, navigation

UPDATED, Oct. 15: Arlingtonma.gov, the official web presence of the Town of Arlington, unveiled an updated site on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 14, after some initial display issues.

I welcome these changes, as I started the town's site in 1998, with the help of friends in town, and managed it through 2003. Since launching YourArlington.com in 2006 and publishing it since then, I have used the town's site as a constant partner. Its features have grown far beyond what I might have imagined more than two decades ago. 

Here's what to watch for: an updated home page and a refreshed look, offering larger text and improved navigation on both desktop and mobile devices.

“We look forward to rolling out these improvements to the website,” said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine in an Oct. 9 news release. “Since the last website update, in 2014, we have learned a lot about ADA compliance, and this update pays close attention to those concerns, which we feel improves the user experience for all visitors to our site.”

Granicus, Roman

Developed in partnership with the town’s website vendor, Granicus, the updated site, managed by Joan Roman, incorporates numerous best web practices. Much of the structure of the updated site remains and continues to be responsive for mobile viewing. On mobile devices, a mobile navigation menu – termed “a hamburger” – will be at the top of the screen, and graphic elements for news and calendar items have been added so they are easier to find regardless of the device used.

On desktop devices, site users will find a “sticky” top navigation and search box that will always be available no matter how far users scroll down the page. With attention paid to contrasting colors, the maroon and gold left navigation found on interior pages aims to better orient users on a page.

Larger text has been used sitewide to improve reading for all visitors. In addition to listing departments, the main navigation, called a “mega-menu,” has been expanded to include divisions, offering the ability to reach these sections, and the services they offer, from any page of the site.

“The town’s website is heavily utilized by both the public and staff,” said Roman, Arlington’s public-information officer, in the release. “We’re pleased to be able to make these updates to streamline content and to improve the site’s accessibility for all users. I’m appreciative of the efforts of many staff members who have worked toward the town’s online accessibility goals and their contributions to this update.”

Content reorganized

As part of the redesign, many pages have been consolidated or reorganized to make information easier to find or to reflect organizational changes. A new finance department section includes the offices of the assessor, treasurer, comptroller and purchasing, plus budgeting information. 

With all changes come glitches. Visitors to the town site should be aware that bookmarks and links to arlingtonma.gov may no longer work after the website is updated because of page reorganization, and they may need to be updated.

Granicus is a leading provider of citizen-engagement technologies and services for the public sector, bringing governments closer to the people they serve with a civic-engagement platform. Granicus works with more than 4,500 government organizations and connects more than 220 million people in the largest citizen subscriber network of its kind.



July 27, 2020: Town police launch news website


This news announcement, which includes opinion, was published Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, and updated Oct. 15.

 

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