|Westerville City Schools Website Gets a New Look
|Posted Date: 8/31/2012
Last spring it was announced that the Westerville City School District earned a prestigious “Sunny Award” from the Sunshine Review, a national non-profit organization dedicated to government transparency. The recognition, which honors the most transparent government websites in the nation, went to only 214 government entities out of more than 6,000 whose web sites were evaluated.
Receiving the Sunny Award offered unsolicited, independent confirmation that the district was on the right track with providing timely, transparent and thorough information. Why, then, did the website recently undergo a transformation? Because district officials recognize the need to keep Westerville City Schools moving forward by accommodating current and emerging technologies.
“More people are accessing online content through tablet computers, smart phones and smart TVs,” said Executive Director of Communications & Technology Greg Viebranz. “The analytics from our web site support this trend, so the redesign of the district’s site makes it more compatible for viewing on these devices.”
Visual Communications Coordinator Matt Davis completed the redesign over the summer and launched the redesigned site on July 1, 2012.
“The redesign decluttered the site and streamlined the navigation to make it more user friendly,” Davis explained. “We’re also able to keep the click rate between two and three clicks to find information.”
Other site enhancements include a new mobile site, shorter homepage addresses for each school, and a “Virtual Backpack” to share community information and reduce the volume of paper brought home by students.
“We’ve worked hard to make the website the go-to place for district communications,” Viebranz said. “The number of people accessing the site and receiving information directly from our district has grown steadily each year since we first rebuilt the web site in 2008.”
During the 2008-09 school year, which was the first full year of gathering benchmark data, the website garnered 1,244,557 visits; 264,304 unique visitors and 3,959,075 page views. During the 2011-12 School Year the site logged 1,665,193 visits; 481,973 unique visitors and 4,991,467 page views. The number of e-news recipients has grown 169 percent from 1,225 to 3,300 subscribers.
The district is expanding the availability of online content beyond its website and e-news subscriptions. Through a partnership with Touchstone App Group, every school is being provided with a free web-app at no cost to the district. The apps are currently in a beta development stage and can be accessed via any mobile device through each school’s home page.
The district also is participating in the “Buy Westerville” app, which is available for both Android and iOS platforms. The district’s website is accessible at http://www.wcsoh.org and http://www.westerville.k12.oh.us.