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Newburyport, Mass., Polls Residents for Website Redesign Ideas

Residents of the city are being asked to provide their input on the design and function of a new website. The current website design dates back more than 10 years and has been a source of frustration among residents.

(TNS) — The mayor is looking to update the city's website and he's asking for help from local residents.

Mayor Sean Reardon's administration is redesigning the city's CivicPlus website with a focus on updated content and an improved look and feel while also making items easier to find.

An online survey designed to give residents a chance to weigh in on the redesign has been posted at

"We're really asking what is important to the residents and what information they really want at their fingertips?" Reardon said. "What usability are they looking for? Then, we are also taking any kind of suggestions on the website in general."

Reardon said he heard plenty of complaints about the city's website from residents while campaigning last year.

"This is something that I wanted to get to and I heard about people's frustrations with the website at the doors a lot last year," he said.

The current city website design dates back more than 10 years, according to Reardon, who has also had his own issues with the site.

"I have gone on there, looking for things before and I know it's on there somewhere but it hasn't always been easy to locate," he said. "Being user-friendly and having things at your fingertips is something that all public organizations need to strive to make as easy as possible for residents."

Residents should only have to take two or three minutes out of their day to find what they are looking for on the city's website, the mayor said.

"I think it goes beyond giving it a fresh look. We really want to know what is important to people," he said. "What are they using the website for currently?"

The public survey will close Thursday at 4 p.m. and will give residents an opportunity to participate in the redesign of the website, which Reardon said needs "a facelift."

"The idea is to have another tool that is user-friendly that residents can use on a day-to-day basis, whether it be if they are looking for information or paying a bill," he said. "Hopefully, a lot of our permitting will be moving online and will be incorporated into the website as well."

The city is still looking for a new information technology director after Mark Kavanaugh left in January and has been working with outside companies Inno4 and ePlus to perform a technology audit.

"Once we have a better handle on what the work is going to look like, I think we can begin searching for someone who specializes in some of the things that we need to do here in the city," Reardon said.

Finance Director Ethan Manning has been filling in where necessary when it comes to the city's information technology. He pointed to recent municipal website revamps by Lexington and Amesbury as examples of what Newburyport residents can look forward to seeing in the future.

"You can expect the look of the website will be fairly different and we want to reflect what people are using it for the most," he said.

Reardon said he hopes to roll out the redesigned website by fall and that it will eventually become a "user-friendly hub" for residents to complete whatever business they have with the city.

"We hope that people will be able to do a lot of their business without coming into City Hall if they don't want to," he said.

©2022 The Daily News of Newburyport, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.