Boulder testing new city website design

Boulder is testing a new website design that the city hopes will be faster, more intuitive and easier for all to use.

The $276,000 website redesign project has been underway for several years, and user feedback has driven most of the changes. The city’s current website, which accommodates approximately 1.5 million annual visitors, was designed in 2013 and was due for an update, according to Boulder spokesperson Bryan Bullock.

“That’s a long time in terms of the web. It’s been on our radar for a while,” Bullock said.

Aside from the website’s age, Boulder used staff and public surveys and user testing to determine it was time for a redesign. Bullock said staff often hear anecdotes about how challenging it can be to find information on the current site.

The coronavirus pandemic also highlighted the need for efficient online services.

“The website is one of our most important tools for delivering information and services to our community, and this public health crisis has only accelerated our efforts to embrace new ways to serve the public online,” City Manager Jane Brautigam stated in a news release.

According to Bullock, the city has been collecting feedback on the current website since 2018. A pop-up box on the site allows users to share whether a particular page is helpful. There have been more than 43,000 responses, and that input was used to improve the current site and develop the new one.

Users can experience some of the proposed changes on the new beta version by visiting beta.bouldercolorado.gov and will have a chance to share more input. There is a spot on the beta version to provide feedback or community members can do so on Be Heard Boulder at www.beheardboulder.org/city-of-boulder-website-redesign.

The city plans to take the rest of the year to test the site and collect comments. The new website launch is tentatively scheduled for next spring. Bullock said that date will leave ample time to make changes based on the feedback provided.

“We can’t assume all the decisions we made are going to be spot on. We need to be flexible and responsive to public feedback,” he said.

One of the changes Bullock anticipates users will be most excited about is the new trails feature, which allows people to filter, sort and search for trails based on factors including length and location. The alerts and calendar also were updated.

“We hope people find it really intuitive, all the way down to the words we used to describe things,” Bullock said.

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