Sunday, July 14, 2024

County to launch new website


Hood County will have a new website in the coming months.

During a special meeting of the Hood County Commissioners Court June 11, the court reviewed the county’s proposed website to make necessary changes before its launch date later this summer.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Nannette Samuelson stressed the importance of the website by calling it the “face of the community.”

"This is what everyone sees when they go to the website of Hood County, so I thought we should take a look at it and make sure that it looks good,” she said.

The commissioners “walked through” the pages of the site together as a resident would do if trying to find information about the county. The court discussed the pros and cons of the current site while viewing each page in order to address where improvements need to be made. Owen Curnutt, the county’s assistant chief of information technology, directed the discussion.

Curnutt explained that the home page is important and will allow residents to navigate to each county department easily.

“One that is very near and dear to you, Nannette, is going to be the agenda center,” Curnutt said, adding that the new search feature will allow residents to find certain agenda topics much faster and easier than before.

“With the old one, the searching wasn't really good, so when you searched, it really only brought up the title of the document into consideration; it never really worked well,” he said. “But with this one here, we can see (a search result) that's come up often was Wolf Hollow, so now if we search for Wolf Hollow, we're getting 109 results. That’s definitely going to be a lot nicer for anybody trying to do their homework. (They will be able to) go back and look at what was said and what was done at last court and what was on the agenda minutes. This will make it easier for them to do that.”

Consistency across the pages and departments was discussed, as well as transparency with the budget information.

“Transparency needs to be there; that’s what I mean. That’s really important that our taxpayers are able to see the budget information,” Samuelson said.

Once launched, the old website will redirect traffic to the new site, so even if residents are not aware of the change, they will still be able to have access.

“We can modify everything we do. Nothing is set in stone,” Curnutt said.

However, he did mention that the old site will eventually expire.

“I would say generally for about two months, we have to keep that redirect traffic going,” he said.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Kevin Andrews wondered about the benefit of delaying the launch of the new website as certain elements still need to be tweaked. Curnutt said if the court wished to delay the release by another week, it would allow him time to address the issues that were discovered.

The court did not take any action but decided to push the launch date back to allow Curnutt to continue modifying the website. Once the issues have been resolved, Curnutt will request the approval of the Hood County Commissioners Court to “go live” on the website.

At this time, the website “go-live” approval will be tentatively placed on the agenda for the Tuesday, July 9 court.