Grand County government unveils new website | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County government unveils new website

Leia Larsen
llarsen@skyhidailynews.com

Grand County debuted a revamped website design this week in an effort to make researching the county's services more intuitive.

The website went live on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Although the web address remains the same, http://www.co.grand.co.us, it has modern feel and loads of visual appeal. Prominently displayed at the top are sweeping photographs of the county's iconic peaks, like the Never Summer Range. It also includes links to the county's tourism, economic development, county news and a page dedicated to water resources management. The site's new features, functions and layout reflect a growing trend in "consumerization" of government websites, according to the information systems director Martin Woros.

"We are trying to match the feel and function of retail sites and news services that most people are accustomed to when doing business and researching information on the World Wide Web," Woros said in an email.

With the redesign, county directors like Woros are hoping those browsing the website will find information quickly and easily, without clicking several links and sifting through many pages. They also added categories that weren't available on the old site, like a "Living Here" section which organizes community resources and links to local service groups. The idea was to create a "pivot point" for site visitors to navigate to more county Web resources, Worros said.

The county hired consultant Civic Plus for the redesign, which has also overhauled websites for Routt, Summit and Park Counties and the city of Steamboat Springs. Grand County's website remake cost $36,000. Worros said an update was long overdue.

"Our old site design was six, going on seven, years old, which is ancient for a modern website," he said.

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Civic Plus will offer a refresh every four years as part of its annual fee for hosting and maintaining the site. According to Worros, the Civic Plus design also allows county officials to easily upload documents and make changes. And hosting the site out of region offers an added public safety feature.

"If there was an extreme weather event or fire that threatened the electrical service or Internet in Hot Sulphur Springs the site will remain up and running, serving as a valuable information tool which we can always update remotely," Worros said.

Through the new design, county officials' aim is to create a website that's both an important tool in both providing government transparency and a positive representation of Grand County on the Web.

"Through the design, we strived to represent as much of Grand Counties breathtaking landscapes, recreation opportunities and resources as possible," Worros said. "With this many wonderful and beautiful options, it was not to challenging to find photography and icons that represent this area and the many cultural influences that make up Grand County."

Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.

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