City websites are a massive undertaking. The variety of content, the number of contributors, and the accessibility requirements make websites of this nature major projects. PalmerAK.org consists of thousands of pages and documents, and several custom made tools that helps users find content quickly.
PalmerAK.org is designed around clarity. The visual design emphasizes readability with optimized column width, simple navigation between and in sections, and minimal decorative elements. This clean design has a secondary benefit, making the website lightweight and swift to load—an important factor in accessibility. Simple elements, like the editable site background and the interactive weather tool give the site locality.
The old City of Palmer website suffered from deep disorganization of content and frustrating usability. Before even discussing visual design, the Alopex team conducted interviews with key city personnel to understand the role of their departments and how they interface with citizens. At the same time, Alopex collected and organized content for departments to edit with readability in mind. Working with the city staff, the content structure and navigation was developed.
PalmerAK.org is a powerful website built on Drupal that integrates a number of custom built interactions. Alopex developers engineered several tools to allow city staff to upload various content and have the website uniformly format it, this includes a directory system, file manager, and calendar.
Unlike commercial websites, our goal was not to increase time on site, page views, or conversions on PalmerAK.org. Since publishing the new website, page views have fallen by 53% but average time per page has risen by 13%. This indicates that users are finding their results with fewer clicks, and spending more time on those results. Testament to the practicality of the redesign, the Alopex Palmer site is 10x faster to load than the previous site, taking an average of 0.05 seconds to load pages.