ALACHUA COUNTY -- Alachua County has undertaken a complete overhaul of its website. The new approach to web design and structure places emphasis on consistency of look and feel, easy-to-use navigation and search functions, and accessibility standards including US Government Section 508 and W3C compliancy. The accessibility standards will ensure that the blind and visually impaired will have better access to the site.
The site includes new eGovernment services such as a new dynamic survey system; handheld device capable content; and a "live help" system for real time contact with citizens and other website users. This changes Alachua County's older information based approach to a more innovative, service oriented approach. And County Manager Randall H. Reid is using the website unveiling to roll out his new County Manager's Blog.
Employees of all County departments now have a Content Management System (CMS) in place to aide in creation and maintenance of site content. The CMS system will streamline the work process and reduce the time it takes to get information and service to the citizens via our website. The CMS also allows for real time updating of critical emergency information during an active emergency within the County making our website a valuable tool for communicating and collaborating with citizens on many new levels.
Talking about the site, Alachua County Web Services Supervisor Brent Messer said, "I have been developing applications and designing websites since the internet's infancy and have been privileged to see the amazing changes in technology that have taken place over the last decade. I have been a resident of Alachua County for 23 years and have always been interested in local government and public service, so this project was very important to me. My staff felt equally involved with the project and did an outstanding job with a great team effort to reach our goal."
County Manager Randall H. Reid's Blog is now up and running. Commenting on the Blog, Reid said, "Blogging is just another form of communication with citizens, and it puts a personal face on County government. Citizens wander around the blogosphere just as they wander around the downtown, hallways at work, university dorms, or fitness centers. When a chance comes to communicate you take it."
Reid continued saying, "I am 52 this Thursday, but I have college age children and daily access to interns and I marvel at what they a do with their computers. Reading papers or our County newsletters is not how they get most of their information. We have a whole new generation of citizens to reach. If my efforts at blogging serve a 'niche market' of citizens, that's okay as I frequently speak to small groups and single concerned citizens by email anyway."
Citizens are encouraged to visit the website at www.alachuacounty.us/ and the County Manager's Blog at www.alachuacounty.us/government/blog/ .
Your questions, comments, and suggestions are encouraged and welcome. For more information contact Alachua County Web Services Supervisor Brent Messer at (352) 338-7333.