New website in preparation for Kankakee County | Local News
Although the Kankakee County Government website, k3county.net, is accessible and functional, it has the appearance of a site from the early 2000s.
The county board had previously approved the development of a new website, and the finance committee gave its final approval this week in an 8-0 vote for CivicPlus to design and format a new website for the. county.
“It’s more than a website, it’s a mass communication tool,” said Jasmyne Humble, communications director for Kankakee County. “It has to be more than a website.”
The finance committee approved the payment of $ 42,000 to CivicPlus to develop the new site. In the second year, he will bill the county $ 7,999 per year for recurring services.
“Our current website does not meet the needs of a connected community,” said Andy Wheeler, chairman of the Kankakee County Board of Directors. “While many were forced to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, local governments were among those that were still functioning. We knew we had to be a resource center, and the pandemic has brought that need to the fore. We need to be accessible in such a way that the public interacts with the content, even after our offices are closed for the day.
“Given the way people consume and seek information on their terms, this next-generation resource will live up to that expectation. “
Humble quoted a analyticsusa.gov study which showed that 55% of people search government websites on a mobile device, 43% on a desktop computer and 2% from a tablet. Websites should be accessible, informative, user-friendly, highly visible, interactive and innovative.
“A lot of people often call or email us and ask us where to find something,” Humble said. “The information is there. We just need to make it more user-friendly, more visible.
CivcPlus, of Manhattan, Kan., Focuses on websites for local governments. It has more than 4,000 customers, including 70 counties, Humble said. He has 20 years of experience working with local governments.
“They have a huge support team,” she said.
Some advantages of the CivicPlus web design are that it can provide emergency updates, that users can create an account, and that it will have a clearinghouse for things like agendas, minutes and forms, as well as personnel directories. All of this will be easily searchable from the tabs at the top of the home page.
Job postings will also be easily accessible and potential candidates will be able to apply on the site, which the current website does not offer.
The new web design will have a modern layout with easy navigation, and it will be fully personalized and more visual.
“You make it what you want it to look like,” Humble said.
The CivcPlus project schedule for implementing the new design is 18 to 32 weeks.
“It’s going to take a few months, if not longer,” Humble said.
“There are a lot of little things to sort out over the next six months,” Wheeler said.
CivicPlus offers 24/7 emergency assistance by phone, email or live chat. County officials and staff will receive training for the new website. Other neighboring counties currently using CivicPlus include Lake County, Ill., (laccountyil.gov) and Porter County in northwest Indiana (porterco.org).
“We have a real partner on a communication tool that isn’t just state of the art, it’s state of the art,” Wheeler said.
“It’s really phenomenal,” said Steve Hunter, board member, after Humble and Wheeler’s presentation. “I think it’s going to skyrocket us in the state and nationally in what you do.”
The CivcPlus redesign also has the ability to take and upload images from various county sites for the new design for an additional cost of $ 7,500. Wheeler said the county may be able to provide some of its own images.
“We don’t think it will be the $ 7,500,” he said.
Wheeler added that the county had contacted a local company to do the work.
“But through no fault of their own, they just can’t offer that scale size,” he said. “… What we’re looking to do are apples and oranges.”