New website design for the City of Atchison

As a member of the Atchison business community, Webcom Resources is proud to have partnered with the City of Atchison team to redevelop the city website experience.

We believe that one size doesn’t fit all — and Atchison’s dynamic community could be reflected in its website. Webcom Resources was dedicated to translating the needs of the community, promoting collaboration that connects both residents and visitors, and allowing Atchison’s local pride to shine brightly. Here’s how we accomplished this on cityofatchison.com.

We studied usability reports and analyzed traffic data to discover what challenges were stifling the usefulness of the city’s website. We learned that the site had been developed on a proprietary, scalable content management system (CMS). While this style of CMS can be highly effective for certain metro government websites, the highly automated streamlining meant this system was unable to allow for the innovation and customization that would reflect the Atchison community. Online billing systems and mobile access were clunky and outdated. In addition, the look-and-feel of the site hadn’t kept pace with Atchison’s growth.

A core team of selected city staff members, led by Webcom Resources, worked with members from each department to gain insights on how residents and visitors could benefit from improvements to the website.

We leaned into a more dynamic, flexible CMS option — a customized WordPress installation focused on providing ease of maintenance, high security, and opportunity for the city’s departments to individualize their clean, intuitive user experience for residents and visitors.

We didn’t just update the look-and-feel of the site; we improved the usability and incorporated new features. Site improvement highlights include:

  • Atchison Area Events portal
    A common frustration for residents was the difficulty in locating information on events and activities in Atchison. This page attempts to highlight some key event calendars for Atchison, displaying automatic feeds from several local sources.
  • Business Resource section
    Entrepreneurial and small-business content added to the website in early 2017 felt buried in the poor usability of the earlier iteration. Highlighting and expanding this online resources section of the city’s new website makes this easier to access and more intuitive to use.
  • Trash or Recycling Container requests
    Previously, residents could only request a new container by calling the city. We implemented this online request to make this process easier for both residents and city personnel.
  • Parks and Facilities
    This section details a categorized directory of city facilities, with photos, descriptions, and reservation/availability information.
  • City Commission meetings
    The city commission meeting calendar offers a link to add meeting reminders to personal calendars in order to assist with community engagement. The meeting minutes archive and agenda packets are now available online as well.
  • City Projects
    Helpful city project statuses and information were previously housed in a separate website. The project pages were imported into the main city website providing easier access to the updates.

The new city website launched without a hiccup on December 29, 2017. At the same time, the City switched the online billing platform to a new provider, which offered a robust yet user-friendly online payment option for utility payments. The old pages were redirected to the new pages, but we monitored closely over the first month to watch for 404 errors. One of the most popular pages on the website continued to be the utility payments page, however the release of a city projects update in the first few weeks produced a nice surge of traffic that previously would have not gone through the city website. We will continue to monitor and share results as they emerge. Visit the new website at cityofatchison.com.

Leave a Comment