By David Luces
Town of Smithtown officials are looking for input from the community on what they would like to see in a remodeled town website.
Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said in a statement that the redesign of the town’s website is long overdue.
“Many residents have asked that our website be a little more modern, easier to use and visually appealing,” Wehrheim said. “We hope this survey will give those who have suggestions or ideas the chance to share them with our web design team and later the community.”
Smithtown’s website was last updated eight years ago, according to town spokeswoman Nicole Garguilo.
“Many residents have asked that our website be a little more modern, easier to use and visually appealing.”
— Ed Wehrheim
“One of the primary things I’ve wanted to see get done was the remodeling of the town’s website,” she said. “I spoke with our IT director and he agreed with the plans to update the website.”
When it came to decide how the town would update the website, Garguilo said the town board considered a few options, including WordPress and other web-design services. However, it decided to stay with CivicPlus, a web development business that specializes in building city and county e-government communication systems that currently maintains the website.
“We have worked with them for quite some time,” she said. “They offered to upgrade our current web page and we thought it would be more efficient.”
As part of the remodeling, the town has put out a survey for residents to complete by Jan. 11.
Kenneth Burke, the town’s IT director, said the main goal of the survey is to see what residents like and don’t like in a new website.
“We want to address residents’ needs and kind of build a road map of how we are going redesign the website,” Burke said.
The community survey consists of 10 questions that ask respondents to answer how frequently they visit the town’s website, the ease of finding information, what pages they visit the most often and what features they would like to see included in the redesign. There is also a section where residents can give written answers to any special needs they have regarding webpage browsing and suggested changes.
He estimated the redesign would be approximately a six-month project and hopes to roll out the new website in June.
“We want to address residents’ needs and kind of build a road map of how we are going redesign the website.”
The town has also reached out to local online groups, such as Smithtown Moms, to get their opinions on a new website. Once the final results of the survey come in, town employees will start data mining and compiling content for the new website.
Garguilo said the content creation side of the new website should take about four to five months to be completed because of back-end organizing, which includes record transfers and archival data. The new interface should take less time to be completed.
“We are working on a 30-second teaser video for the Town of Smithtown,” the town spokesperson said. “It will be like an about us video right off the bat when you get on the website.”
Garguilo said that the video will include important facts and pictures of landmarks to showcase the town.
Another plan the town has is the creation of an app that can work in conjunction with the new website.
“Lets just say a resident wanted to report something — they can go to the app and fill out a form — and that’ll be sent right to our system,” Garguilo said. “This will lead to faster results and hopefully residents are happier.”
To participate, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/SmithtownWebsiteRedesign through Jan. 11.