Urbana launches new municipal website

URBANA – An updated website for the city of Urbana will focus more on functions and issues rather than municipal government departments.

Bill DeJarnette, director of information services for Urbana, said the new site – http://www.urbanaillinois.us – will officially launch Thursday.

"It is a true content-management system," he said. "We've gotten away from departments. It is more driven by what you are looking for instead of where you look."

He said information about Urbana's parking is a good example. Information about parking can be found through the website links of "residents" or "visitors."

"Under the old design, you had to know that parking is under finance," DeJarnette said.

The tab "Visitors" leads to options of About Urbana, Plan Your Visit, See Historic Urbana, Tree City USA and Visitors Parking in Urbana. The tab "Residents" includes links to such city services as parking, animal control, public arts, recycling, fire safety, citizen police complaints and issued building permits.

Another aspect of the change is that information will be posted by all departments, rather than going through the information services department.

"They best know the information that should be published," DeJarnette said.

A request for bids was put out by the city in December 2007. Royse Wagner, a local advertising firm, was selected as consultant in June 2008. In late January 2009, it was decided to use Drupal as the system to manage content. The budget for the project was $35,000.

"This was a makeover that touched every page on the website and made an institutional change from the underlying concepts of how we do business and a complete changeover of how the departments are involved in their areas of interest."

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