“3 clicks and you’re in” the goal for the new City of Kawartha Lakes website

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KAWARTHA LAKES-The City of Kawartha Lakes unveiled a new website today with the goal of three clicks of a mouse you get what you are looking for.

The project began last November with a $100,000 investment form The Kawartha Lakes CFDC under the Eastern Ontario Development Program’s Community Innovation stream.

The new website has been completely redesigned with input from a variety of users. Cheri Davidson, Manager of Communications for the City says “It challenged us to lose some of our municipal jargon, we rewrote from scratch every word on our site.”

Every division within the city was involved and staff held nine consultations with external stakeholders.

The site is also fully accessible for people who may be vision or hearing impaired.

A press release from the city says:

The City is proud to present a website that is fully accessible and compliant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA specifications, the highest standard on the web. The website development team, alongside vendor eSolutions, worked diligently throughout the design process to ensure the new platform will be user friendly for those with visual and other disabilities.

Because of this, not all documents are available on the website yet but they say staff is working diligently to get the most important documents online and accessible. Davidson says “I am proud to say that this has been one of the leading roles of this website”

The site can be translated into 100 different languages and it allows residents to subscribe to receive any news or alerts on information you are interested in. Whether is be City news, Council news and meetings, road closures, waste schedules, emergency alerts and more it’s all available. There’s even a mobile application that consolidates all City information into one place. Users can choose to subscribe to a certain page to be updated when any changes are made.

Another nice new feature allows residents and community groups to submit their own events through the calendar feature of the new site, making it even easier for the entire community to stay up-to-date about upcoming activities.

With the state of City roads lately a new feature that’s expected to be popular is the “Reports” page. Here residents can report issues with potholes or roads or a number of other issues directly to the department involved. They will then receive a tracking number if they want to follow up.

Residents who where on hand for the reveal were impressed with the changes. “From what I see I like it. The response times seem to be a lot quicker.” Norm Price  remarked. “Remember we live in a municipality that has above average age. I’d like you to remember they are slow to learn and quick to criticize.” he joked. “So be prepared for an influx on the reporting page”

The Kawartha Lakes’ tourism website has also been revamped making planning a trip to Kawartha Lakes even easier according to the city. The new website showcases the many attractions that set Kawartha Lakes apart, such as its waterways, downtowns, festivals and cultural attractions.”We are very proud of this website. It helps us have a cohesive approach to how we are doing business and tourism in the City.” Rebecca Mustard, Manager of Economic Development for the City told Kawartha 411.

Both sites have a lot of eye candy on them. Images of lakes and community events are abundant in an attempt to showcase all the Kawartha’s has to offer.

To coincide with the launch of the new websites, e-mail addresses for Kawartha Lakes staff have changed from the previous format of firstinitiallastname@city.kawarthalakes.on.ca to firstinitiallastname@kawarthalakes.ca, making it easier for residents to contact the appropriate staff member according to City officials. The older format will forward to the new, ensuring that the transition is a smooth one.

The Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) advances economic development in rural eastern Ontario. Through EODP, FedDev Ontario is collaborating with Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in eastern Ontario and Community Futures Ontario East to promote the growth of new and existing businesses in rural communities. Chairman of the Board, Paul Reeds says “This really is the beginning. They spend so much money on the roads leading into the city, this is another road-an electronic road and it needs to look good too.”

City CAO Ron Taylor says it was easy to support these projects. ” I never expected anything but a great product at the end of the day because it was built by some really great people.”

Click here to access the new city website:http://www.kawarthalakes.ca/

Click here for the new tourism website:http://www.explorekawarthalakes.com/