Results are only three clicks away with updates to the city’s website
Oct 31, 2019 02:21PM
● By Cassie Goff
The website for Cottonwood Heights will be updating throughout the end of the year. (Cottonwood Heights)
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
The Cottonwood Heights city website is currently under construction. After years of residents requesting improvements to the website, updates are finally beginning to occur. On Oct. 1, the first few updates went live. Throughout the last few months, more changes were made, one update at a time. As of publication, much of the city’s website is accessible. However, there are still some pages that have yet to be published and some additional updates are needed.
While construction will continue until the end of the year, there are already some noticeable changes to the website. One of the most user-friendly changes is the updates to the search function of the website. “Users should be able to find what they are looking for within three or four clicks,” reported City Manager Tim Tingey on Sept. 3.
When a user visits cottonwoodheights.utah.gov, they are met with a continuous scrolling banner of ongoing projects and current events. This scrolling banner feature has been an ongoing request from the city council. “Residents want community news,” said Tingey.
In addition, the home page of the website contains less content than it previously contained — which makes it, to use a technical term, “cleaner.” Currently, a user is met with clickable tabs dedicated to project spotlights, upcoming events and current news, along with quick links for Applications and Forms, Meetings and Agendas, Public Works, Events, and Parks and Recreation. In addition, there is a service finder where a user can submit a specific inquiry or visit the staff directory directly to contact a city employee.
One of the more exciting features for city employees is the opportunity for agency in the website. Each committee/council/department has the option to edit their own page(s). For example, committees like the arts council, historic committee, emergency preparedness, and parks, trails, and open space will have the option to design their page housed on the city website.
“When the website is updated, it would be nice to have an easy-to-get-to link for projects that are in the works,” said resident Nancy Hardy on June 18.
Taking her suggestion into consideration, departments can now highlight specific projects through designated pages. For example, the community and economic development department has published a page on the proposed outdoor lighting regulations, as well as the Wasatch Boulevard Master Plan. And the public works department has published a page on snow removal, sanitation, and curb gutter and sidewalks.
On the top right-hand corner of the page, in addition to the city’s social media links, a Volunteer page has been added. This allows users to see a list of available volunteer opportunities within the city. Next to that Volunteer page, there is an option to “Translate.” This is a service sponsored by Google, which allows the entire webpage to be translated to the user’s preferred language.
If users wish to submit a complaint or suggestion, the website houses a feature called the Citizen Dashboard, which is an online tool allowing users to directly contact city employees over a list of specific concerns. In order to make use of the Citizen Dashboard, users need to create an account or log in to a previously existing account. This feature, designed by CivicLife, was updated in 2015.
The option to receive more communication from the city is also available through opting in for email notices. Users can choose to be notified for topics such as city council meetings, planning commission meetings, architectural review commission actions, city and community events, volunteer opportunities, job notices, budget updates, Canyon Centre construction updates, election notices, road projects and public notices. There is also an archive of the city’s newsletters.
Prior to the updates, residents voiced their concerns that “the website is sometimes difficult to navigate and to look for when you’re looking for public input,” said resident Joe Clay on July 2. He also mentioned that after attending some public meetings, some of the information presented was not available online. There has yet to be resident comment on the updates.
Cottonwood Heights is contracting Granicus, a company promoting technology built for government, for the creation and production of the city website.