The website redesign was designed with mobile users in mind, said website specialist Valerie McKito. (Screenshot via City of McKinney)
The town of McKinney has redesigned its website in favor of a simpler user experience.
The new website went live on December 7 after a five-year period since the last redesign. In a typical redesign, which takes place roughly every five years as an industry standard, sites make minor adjustments, such as updating graphics and colors, said website specialist Valerie McKito. .
âHowever, during our redesign, we decided to make substantial changes to make it easier for the public to navigate the website,â she added.
As in routine updates, city staff updated the colors and made sure they complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act for users with color blindness and other conditions. The site is also formatted for people who use screen readers. But a lot of the redesign was about functionality.
Due to the increase in mobile visitors, one of the top priorities for staff was to make the website mobile friendly, McKito said.
In 2015, 87% of visitors accessed the website from a desktop computer. In 2020, that percentage fell to 45%, according to city data.
âWhat we did was make sure that [the site] looks good with the redesign whether you’re watching it from a desktop or mobile, âMcKito said.
The new website features an updated mega-menu, or toolbar at the top of the screen with various navigation categories. McKito said updating these categories made it easier for residents to navigate, as previous labels focused on city employees.
Visitors will also notice the absence of the banner photo that was once a landmark on the city’s home page. The decision to remove the photo was a combination of old-fashioned banners and slower load times for mobile users.
âWe all know on mobile that if a site takes too long to load, we just click on it,â McKito said. âThe last thing we want is to lose our residents before we even bring them closer to the information they are looking for. “
Each change was consistent across desktops and mobiles, which will help the city’s customer service representatives when they help website visitors who call for technical assistance, McKito said. Previously, some pages did not appear the same for desktop and mobile users, complicating the support process.
CivicPlus, the city’s website provider, used McKinney’s site as an example for local governments across the country after the 2016 redesign. McKinney was one of the first sites in the city to use a large banner. photo on its homepage, McKito said.
âOur vendor told us that they plan to use our website again as an example of how to meet our communities where they are and where they are tech-savvy,â McKito said. “So it’s pretty exciting that we’re on the cutting edge of technology again.”