By Aaron Berkowitz
Shelton, CT (February 28, 2017)—Over the course of the past five or six months there have been numerous complaints made by residents about the quality and overall accessibility of the city’s website.
A local web design company is confident that its recent modifications to and makeover of the site have addressed all of the expressed complaints/concerns.
Peralta Design, which is now located at 2 Enterprise Drive in Shelton, was selected by Mayor Mark Lauretti following a thorough bidding process to handle the assignment of improving the site.
“We think it says a lot about the mayor and the city that they trust the talent that comes out of it,” said Peralta. “The Mayor is always acknowledged for bringing business here but I think it should be celebrated that he’s done business here successfully.”
The company specializes in web design, launching and rebranding companies, as well as content management systems (CMS) and many other skills that are listed on its site.
Founder and Creative Director Ramon Peralta, Jr. said since the site’s relaunch back in early February, he has only received positive feedback from residents.
“When the site launched earlier this month we promoted it in a popular Facebook group called: In and Around Shelton, where people told us they were happy with all of the changes we made…,”said Peralta. “Citizens have been generally happy and excited to use and experience the new website.”
This job opportunity was especially meaningful for Peralta Design because some of its employees are Shelton residents, according to Peralta who has lived in the city for 15 years.
Lead Web Developer and Interactive Designer Jorge Pezo-Candelario said after moving to Shelton a little over a year ago, he visited the city’s site and discovered that it was difficult to navigate.
“It’s truly been a labor of love and something that we as residents wanted to change,” said Pezo-Candelario. “We wanted to improve this as a quality of life item for people who live and work here. A big goal of ours was improving the readability, indexability, and the primary navigation.”
Before Peralta Design’s team began its work on the city’s website, it was given areas to focus on and develop.
The city instructed the Peralta Design team to make the website: more mobile/tablet friendly, easier for citizens to navigate through, enable city council members to make updates to the site themselves in a non technical way.
In response to the city’s requests, the current update to site allows city council members to make edits to the site without needing to put in a request for an edit or having to wait to gain approval, according to Peralta.
“We’re trying to speed up that process,” said Pezo-Candelario. “The goal is to continue to evolve over time rather than just being stagnant.”
Peralta also explained that the city wanted its site to include a set of tools that allows residents to pay taxes, report potholes or contact departments directly.
Pezo-Candelario said he and his team added an interactive system which allows residents to report potholes through a tab available on the bottom of the home screen labeled, “potholes.” The tab allows residents to identify where the pothole is as well as upload a photo.
In the process of redesigning the city’s website, Pezo-Candelario explained that his team also created a sub navigation menu so that they are able to identify the most popular areas of the site whether it be the new reporting pothole tab, information for the tax collector, or proper waste disposal.
The site has also been modified to accommodate more cell phone or tablet users.
“A lot of citizens primary computing devices are their mobile phones or tablets,” said Pezo-Candelario. “We wanted to give them a site that is much more mobile friendly and easier to navigate through.”
The city looks to continue to improve its website and have included a general contact form on the site that allows people to submit comments or suggestions.
Rolling out the new website to city council
Pezo-Candelario conducted two training sessions to help each department take ownership of the new website.
The first seminar that took place was with the senior level administration team and consisted of only five or six people. Pezo-Candelario said the city council members that attended came prepared with questions to assure that that they knew how to properly make edits in their department’s portion of the website.
Shortly after the site’s launch, a second and much larger training session took place in city hall to help roll out the system to the rest of the staff who would be using and updating the site regularly.