Salisbury’s government unveils new website

The city of Salisbury has launched a new and easier-to-use Internet website.

The city’s newly redesigned Internet website welcomes visitors with a picture of Salisbury, looking over the water, colors streaking the sky, and the slogan, “Welcome to the comfortable side of coastal.”

Created by local Web designer Chris McIntosh, with input from Mayor Jake Day, the site was formally introduced to the public last week.

Now more user-friendly for the average citizen or visitor interested in doing business with the city, and easier to navigate, especially with a cell phone or handheld electronic device, the site was updated because the old one “needed to be refreshed,” Day said.

Abundant with information, it has details about the Salisbury Zoo, as well as ways to submit ideas to government officials or the mayor and how to sign up for updates by email.

It contains guides to provide services and makes it easier to submit application forms and make requests, such as requesting trash removal if a home was inadvertently missed.

There’s information about the National Folk Festival next year, the mayor’s tweets and facts about the city budget, the Housing First program and events from Fridays at 5 to the upcoming bike party with a Halloween theme.

Across the top, there’s a large search bar.

“We have great information about how to apply for an internship … or learn about recent announcements. This is much more accessible,” Day said.

The first step when designing it was determining needs of each city department and answering questions most frequently asked by callers.

“We built components that each department could use that they had available to them. We were building tools specific to each department’s needs so that everybody who runs the city’s Website has access to them,” McIntosh said.

“We wanted to make sure that the experience was phenomenal on mobile devices and had big, approachable blocks big enough for a thumb. I was thinking about, how to do I make this usable on a phone just as much as a desktop?” McIntosh said.

“The only thing on there you can’t do is apply for a job straight from your phone but everything else, I think, is achievable and easy to accomplish and get to from your phone,” he said.

Interestingly, he said, it’s been calculated that, worldwide, more people have cell phones than toilets. A homeless person might not have a computer to learn about city services or ask a question, but he might own a cell phone, McIntosh said.

“It’s ridiculous to think he would have to go to the library to get onto the city’s website. This makes it easier,” McIntosh said.

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