City seeking input in web site redesign project

Mark Dunning likes analogies. Half-a-minute into the conversation, the assistant city manger is likening the redesign of the City of Lee's Summit's web site to building a new house. 

Users of the site, have seen some recent upgrades, making it easier to find public meeting schedules, agendas and video easier to find and use. While those tools will remain an integral part of the site, Dunning said the site is in need of major changes in design and usability.

"What we did earlier with the meetings and agendas was just putting up new drapes and taking down the old ones," he said. "Now though, we're building a new house. Now, we're forming the plan and foundation for what the new house will be."

As the City begins the planning phase of this project, it's asking for input from the public to help narrow down requirements for the new site. The City has begun pushing out a link to public survey through electronic and social media. The survey asks for input on the design and navigation of the current web site, as well as thoughts on what a new site should offer. The survey can be found here. Residents have until Friday, Sept. 23 to take part in the survey.

One of the biggest difficulties for this project, according to Dunning, will be organizing the vast amount of content and developing a navigation system users find inviting and easy to use.

"That's one of the reasons we're talking to the public and asking for input," he said. "We've got a lot of things that are housed in this site. We've got to establish a road map for where all of this content goes and how to get to it. That's why we're out talking the people that will use it. Here, inside this building we're good at government speak. We're good a talking about the silos and where all the things are. But that doesn't always translate to the people out there that are using the site. We need their input to make sure they're able to effectively use the site."

As of now, Dunning and his team are not putting an official time table on this project. The reason, he said, is that they want to make sure they take the necessary time to properly plan, design and develop the most useful and effective site possible. 

"This is a big project," Dunning said. "We're going to talk to our customers and make sure we lay out the right foundation before we start designing and building the house."