OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme will launch a new website Feb. 14, with its goal being, “An improved user experience,” according to a press release issued by the Town yesterday. Visitors to the existing OldLyme-ct.gov site will automatically see the new site, once it has been released.
The website revamp is part of the Town’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that was approved at the Town Meeting in July 2022. The cost for the website host, CivicPlus, to upgrade the existing site was $44,444.
“It became apparent during the pandemic shutdown how much we needed to rely on the Town’s website as a conduit to continue the business of the Town,” said Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold. He noted, “We realized there were some website enhancements that could improve the online experience of our taxpayers.”
In addition to improving the attractiveness of its layout, the functionality of the website was improved, such as the directory of Town Hall employees and a user-friendly link to all agendas and minutes. The new website also complies with the website practices set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
A review of past website analytics informed a Town Hall Task Force charged with overseeing the website makeover with CivicPlus.
According to town hall employee Jennifer Datum, who was a member of the task force, “We learned that what most online visitors are looking for is information on trash and recycling information, Parks and Recreation programs, and how to apply for certain permits and licenses. This led us to make these topics more easily accessible from the home page.”
The home page also includes an improved calendar as well as news alerts.
Although much of the website conversion is completed and ready for residents to access, moving the vast amount of historical records and documentation from the existing website to the newly improved website will take months to complete. “The town hall staff working on this aspect appreciates the public’s patience during this transition phase,” Datum said. “All historic agendas and minutes are still available in person at the Town Clerk’s office.”
The website improvements are part of a larger effort to make online access to the Town easier for residents, including an effort to provide live recordings of town meetings. This effort is still in the development stage and also funded by Old Lyme’s ARPA grant.
Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued Feb. 13, by the Town of Old Lyme.