City revamps outdated site

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The City of Kilgore’s web portal is getting a user-friendly facelift in the coming year, and City Hall is on the lookout for local photographers to help fill out the site’s look.

“There are a lot of really good photographers here in Kilgore,” says Sonya Waters, community relations manager. “Hopefully we’ll have people who are wanting to submit their photos, and we’ll use them on the Website and social media … not just of the downtown or the derricks but all our parks, the library, all the facilities we have.”

Council members allocated $30,000 in the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 for a major overhaul of CityofKilgore.com. Waters updated the elected officials on the website design committee’s chosen firm last week.

“As you know, our current Website is not one that we can continue to utilize in 2018 or into the future,” Waters noted. “It’s very outdated, and it’s not very user-friendly, both for the community and for the city ourselves.”

Waters works with Planning & Zoning Director Carol Windham, Assistant Director of Public Works Mat Kronner and Kilgore Public Library Director Stacey Cole on the city’s web team.

Extensive research went into choosing the right firm, she told council members.

“Which Websites do we like? Why do we like them, and what could we implement here in Kilgore?”

The final choice was CivicPlus, which has crafted sites for more than 3,500 communities in the United States and Canada, including for the cities of Rowlett and McKinney, which Waters used to demonstrate various features.

“A little more expensive, but it’s a lot more user-friendly, it has a lot more functions on it and it’s also just aesthetically-pleasing for the user as well. This can be completely designed how we want to do it,” Waters added. The firm’s proposal came in at $21,500. “We’ll be using the remainder of that budget for things like additional photos that we might need, videos, any type of design templates and stuff like that we might utilize for it.”

Ease-of-use will be a major theme in developing the site – the design team is working with CivicPlus on an initial walkthrough of the current, outdated, cumbersome site. After collecting notes and developing an initial plan, they’ll bring a draft version of the overhaul for council feedback.

“Inspiration is going to be taken from styling guidelines we’re going to implement for the City of Kilgore,” Waters said, “so we have a specific color, a specific font, logos used correctly.

Meanwhile, among a variety of accessibility features, “They also have a lot of functions where they can incorporate an alert system. That combines all the different systems the city already uses into one thing.”

The overall process could take between six and nine months.

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