Shelby Township released a website with added tools and a whole new design Sept. 23 to help residents more easily find what they’re looking for while on the site.

Shelby Township released a website with added tools and a whole new design Sept. 23 to help residents more easily find what they’re looking for while on the site.

Image provided by Shelby Township

Shelby Township unveils redesigned website

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 19, 2020


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Shelby Township released a new website with added tools and a whole new design Sept. 23 to help residents more easily find what they’re looking for while on the site.

The transfer of information from the old page and redesign of the website was a joint effort between the township’s Community Relations Department and its new website host, Granicus Inc.

The new site is meant to prioritize residents’ needs with easier access to services while providing a more professional feel for visitors.

The website address will remain the same,

Community Relations Director Brad Bates said that, since the last time the township redesigned the site, a lot has changed — including the use of mobile devices.

“It has been a while since the township looked at expanding its digital capabilities through the website, and a lot has changed since then,” Bates said. “People have changed from accessing a website exclusively on desktop computers to using mobile devices more often than not.”

Bates said that, with the improvements in technology, the township is able to offer more to the community through the new design.

“Our community is more media and tech-savvy than ever before, with a demand for high-end, graphically pleasing content to draw them to a site and its information. To address these changes in the culture, we worked with Granicus to overhaul the site and add a lot of function for our residents and improve our presentation to new visitors.”

When the township released the bids to the public, Granicus Inc. was the lowest among all qualified bidders for the project in 2019. The idea was to redesign the existing site and consolidate online tools.

The total cost for site overhaul was $34,800, with funds budgeted within the township’s capital improvement fund. The township had placed the item, “centralize and enhance the township website,” on its 2017 and 2018 top 10 priorities.

Granicus is also the established township vendor for the Clerk’s Office’s agenda management process and video streaming service.

One of the new features on the website to connect taxpayers to services with fewer clicks is the site’s “Service finder,” located in the desktop site’s top banner and on the mobile site under buttons titled, “Find a Service.” Users begin their service requests answering a “How do I?” prompt and choosing the options that best suit their needs to navigate to the pages that suit their request.

Another tool available on the website that connects residents to personalized service information is titled “Address Look-up.” This tool is on the homepage and mobile site under buttons titled, “My services.” This feature allows residents to input their home address and receive customized information such as what day their trash is collected, where they go for in-person voting and which local elementary, junior high and high schools their address feeds.

“We know residents on our site would prefer to be doing something else, so we wanted to make their business as easy to conduct as possible and reduce the amount of time they have to spend on the site to conduct business,” Bates said.

Also improving access is the fully redesigned mobile site. The new mobile site loads a reduced version of the site’s homepage on a smartphone screen.

“The mobile site essentially turns our homepage into a mobile app that connects users to our most-visited pages with one touch,” Bates said. “It’s an app that you don’t have to download. All you have to do is bookmark on your phone’s browser.”

The new site offers all of the same forms that content users are familiar with, and they do not need to change bookmarks to access frequently visited pages.

Lynn Wilhelm, a Shelby Township trustee, said the new website is great for those young and old to easily navigate.

“Our beautiful new website is a great upgrade for the residents of Shelby Township. Everyone, whether young or old, will be able to easily navigate and find answers to questions they have regarding their community. I commend our communications relations director, Brad Bates, and his team for all of their hard work to bring our website to the next level,” she said.

Grancius Inc. also provides hosting for the United States Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said he is satisfied knowing the new website will be using the same level of security as the top government agencies.

“All the bells and whistles of the new site are nice, and I am pleased with the level of security,” he said. “We know that hackers are getting more sophisticated, and it’s good to know Shelby Township has the same level of protection as the most secure agencies in our federal government.”