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By Dave Boyce
Almanac Staff Writer
Green is a prominent color on the homepage of the redesigned website for the town of Woodside (at Woodsidetown.org), and the color green is perhaps the one characteristic carried over from the previous website. But this green is light and bright and includes images of trees. On the old site, the green was dark, deep and flat and had a feel of the 1990s, when the World Wide Web was new.
The redesigned website went live on Sept. 23 at a price of $30,200 for a month's work by aHa! Consulting Inc. of Lake Oswego, Oregon, Assistant Town Manager Kevin Bryant said in response to emailed questions. This consultant has designed websites for cities and towns throughout the United States, according to its proposal, and was chosen by an ad hoc town subcommittee from among 21 proposals received.
In settling on a design, the aHa! representatives met once with Town Council members Dave Burow and Deborah Gordon and community members Millo Fenzi and Perry Vartanian, and followed up with two web conferences, Mr. Bryant said.
The project came in under budget. The council in May had authorized spending up to $32,500.
The new site's content is under the control of town staff, meaning that experts will not be needed to update it. Where experts will be needed -- to add, modify or repair features of the site -- the program that runs it is open-source code in common use. Open source code is not proprietary to a single company and if the town needs maintenance help, the code's popularity will likely mean a large community of developers in and around Silicon Valley will be available to work on it.
For the present, the town has a maintenance agreement with aHa!, Mr. Bryant said.
Easy to use
Links on the site advertise their status in contemporary fashion, cleanly and without visual or navigational complications. A continuously updated chronology helps you figure out where you are and how to retrace your steps.
Links are organized according to your purpose for being at the website: as a resident, as someone with a business in town, as someone with business at Town Hall, or as a visitor. The "How Do I" section has guidance for everyone.
The home page is important as the only place for three particular sets of links: news, the town's official calendar, and a few commonly used official business portals.
The homepage is always accessible by clicking on the name of the town on the top left of the page.
A new feature on the site will make it easier for residents to sign up for email notification of announcements from several town functions, including town administration, building, planning, public works, emergency services, as well as the Town Council and the volunteer committees that advise the council.
The notifications are available on daily, weekly and monthly schedules and in several formats, including blogs, web pages and alerts.
Also available are notices when agendas are published for meetings of the three principal town bodies -- the Town Council, the Planning Commission, and the Architectural and Site Review Board.
Go to this link to see the new website.