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Cottonwood Heights Journal

City looks at redesigning their website for easier navigation

Mar 30, 2023 10:49AM ● By Cassie Goff

Cottonwood Heights City Councilmembers have requested the homepage for the city’s website to be redesigned. (Photo courtesy of Cottonwood Heights)

As the Cottonwood Heights City Council continues to deliberate funding priorities for this upcoming fiscal year’s budget, city staff have been providing further detail on a few potential expenditures. On March 1, Communications Manager Lindsay Wilcox presented options for continual maintenance and possible improvements to the city’s website.  

The Cottonwood Heights city website is hosted by the platform Granicus. The city currently pays a service fee between $7,000 and $7,500 annually to continue using Granicus’s server and 24/7 technical assistance. 

City councilmembers would like to see substantial improvements to the city’s website. At the top of their priority list is updating the landing page for clarity and easier navigation.  

“We want to get the homepage right; that is crucial,” said Mayor Mike Weichers. 

Councilmember Ellen Birrell requested adding “How Do I?” buttons directly to the front of the homepage. She provided the example of including a button for “How Do I…access the city’s master plan?” with detailed step-by-step instructions for users to get to and access the pdf file. 

Councilmembers requested additional revisions to the city’s website including creating a dedicated page for the city council meeting live Zoom links and audio recordings, making the form to sign-up for email subscriptions more visible, compiling a master calendar for all city meetings and events, and less jargon. 

Unfortunately, with the current plan the city pays for with Granicus, Wilcox is rather limited with the layout and design options for the city’s website. For example, she is limited to only five buttons along the top banner of the city’s website, even though they are fully customizable.  

Based on the council’s feedback, Wilcox will be talking to the Granicus representatives to get quotes for more extensive plan packages with the intention of gaining more freedom with layout and design options.  

If the council were to pursue a full redesign of the city’s website, it would cost a minimum of $75,000. It would require Wilcox and the city’s Communications Team to compile a list of specific items to change or retain, at least three different bids from different companies/platforms to compare pricing, building an entirely new website that’s ADA compliant (and housed off-site), then transferring that new website onto a new platform. A full-time web developer would be necessary. 

“We don’t have the resources to house the website with our own servers,” said City Manager Tim Tingey.

Meanwhile, Wilcox will continue working to improve the city’s website by fixing broken links, updating old pdf files, adding events to the community calendar(s), publishing newsletter articles, posting banners about city meetings, consolidating information, and creating new pages (for topics such as specific road projects, Ranked Choice Voting and others). 

“I don’t think we realize how much work (Wilcox) puts into this,” Tingey said. “She’s been connecting so many things to enhance our website.”

In addition to routine maintenance, Wilcox has been working to ensure the city’s website is ADA compliant and safe from cybersecurity threats. 

Per ADA standards, a website should be designed so any information a user may be looking for is accessible within three clicks and minimal scrolling. Wilcox has condensed some of the pages on the city’s website that required 20 scrolls or more. In addition, websites should be able to be navigated and accessible by screen readers with scaling compatibility for mobile devices and tablets. 

“One of the latest cybersecurity threats we have is called cyberscanning,” said Systems Administrator Alex Earl. 

Cyberscanning was described as bots finding personal email addresses on websites and blasting those email inboxes with fraudulent messages. In response to the uptick in cyberscanning, personal email addresses have been removed from the city’s website. 

Part of the reason Wilcox’s work to maintain and improve the city’s website can be traced back to 2019. The city council at the time made the decision to migrate the city’s website from their original platform to Granicus. Transferring platforms was more of a migration instead of a redesign, so existing content was moved onto the new platform without changing structures or categories as necessary. 

Wilcox also manages the city’s social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To visit the city’s Twitter, visit: @CHCity

To visit the city’s Facebook or Instagram, search: CottonwoodHeights 

To visit the Cottonwood Heights website, visit: