Town website revisions in 2018 added Financial Transparency and improved Services and Government navigation
With the goal of keeping Dedham residents and others informed of these efforts, we are writing up this overview of website changes in 2018, and we will continue to make it a priority to provide site updates to you in 2019.
Earlier this month, Town staff overhauled the Services menu to organize the content into more topical headings. When the new website was launched in December 2016, this section—detailing Town services for residents, businesses, and visitors to Dedham—was not as well organized as it may have been.
For example, three different Town departments oversee animal safety (Police), dog licensing (Town Clerk), and the dog park (Parks & Recreation). Under the former website navigation, a site visitor had to know which department did what. Under the new Services navigation, this information is presented under more user-friendly topics, in this case, Animals & Pets.
Work remains to be done, and we’d like to create new topics and pages based on what information site visitors need. We encourage you to explore Services and other sections of the website and send us your feedback. (Every page on the website includes a Feedback link.)
We’d also like to thank Matthew Cubetus, a senior at Suffolk University who has worked through 2018 as an intern doing community outreach and website operations. Many of the website improvements made this year would not have been possible without Matthew’s insightful analysis, collaboration across Town departments, diligent editing, and other hard work.
Working with Matthew over the course of 2018, staff members across many departments have made additional improvements to the Town website, implementing changes based on surveys and other feedback from residents. Here’s an overview of improvements made in 2018:
- Survey. In February, we released a feedback survey for visitors to respond to, to help us understand what needs work. In March, we analyzed the survey results and presented our findings to site visitors and the Board of Selectmen.
- Financial Transparency. The Town has a comprehensive financial tool which links directly from our financial accounting software. This financial transparency site provides the public with easy access to the Town of Dedham’s expenditure, revenue, budget, and payroll information for the current fiscal year, as well as a historical view of previous years.
- Government navigation. The Government section of the website was reorganized to sort Boards and Committees into topical areas based on each body's work.
- News. News categories were simplified and sorted into a more topical organization, which improved the Subscription function for email updates.
- Department pages. We added image banners to many pages, making those pages more dynamic and interesting. We continue to merge similar pages as well as make content more simple and uniform.