Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brevard County Unveils New Website

VIERA, FLORIDA - While the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners website was already filled with information that citizens want and need from their local government – in fact, the site has won Sunny Awards for the past two years from the national Sunshine Review for its transparency – the website has now been revamped to include beautiful photos of the area; a more user-friendly interface; and a calendar with easily viewable differences between meetings and events.

“It’s not only a new design, but in fact a whole new approach,” said County Manager Howard Tipton at the Board of County Commissioners meeting this afternoon. “The idea is to make the website user-driven, with a more service-oriented experience for the citizen, rather than the traditional department-driven model. In our research of best practices for government websites, across the country, we found that consistently this “looking from the outside in” approach was winning awards for user-friendliness and information access. We’ve learned that citizens don’t necessarily know, nor do they care, which agency or department provides a service… they just want to be able to access it.”

When users first arrive at the website, they will see the tabs across the top that let them select which category they belong to. If they are Brevard County residents, the topics and services that they are likely seeking will be listed under that tab. If they are visitors, whether tourists or someone seeking to relocate, the common topics of interest to that group are listed under that section. Business representatives will find the services and information most appropriate to them under that category. The e-Government tab provides access to services which can be requested, paid for, or reserved online; as well as opportunities to provide feedback or report a problem. The Contact tab offers the traditional list of departments, for those who are familiar with the previous website, as well as links to various ways to communicate with the County: email, telephone numbers, Facebook and Twitter.

This is Phase One of the new website, as just a half-dozen County departments have been upgraded to the new look. Phase Two, moving the remaining departments to the new design as quickly as resources allow, will be completed next year.

The design and development was all done in-house by Information Technology department employees using a database-driven content management software, Sitefinity by Telerik.

Library Services had an immediate need to move their externally hosted website at www.brev.org because it was outdated and difficult to maintain, so they assisted with the purchase of an upgrade to the software, at a cost of $20,000, enabling the entire County to transition more quickly and easily.

The website URL is www.brevardcounty.us.