If you’re a frequent visitor of Roanoke County’s website, you may have noticed a new look this week. News/Talk 960’s Timothy Martin reports.

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News release from Roanoke County:

On Monday, March 14, Roanoke County officially launched its newly redesigned website to the public. The switch from the County’s former website to one designed in cooperation with government website experts at CivicPlus began over the weekend and will continue for several days as employees work to finalize the transition. Visitors to Roanoke County’s homepage will immediately notice the dramatic new look of the site. In addition to its appearance, the new site offers many improved features designed to help visitors more quickly locate the information and services they need. The information is broken down into categories for residents, businesses and visitors. There’s also an

“I Want To” category, which provides direct links for specific information and transaction instructions. Reporting a concern or requesting information from the County also is easier than ever. Visitors simply click the Questions/Comments tab at the top of every web page to access an online submission form.

County Web Content Manager Gray Craig said the team redesigned the site from the citizen’s perspective. “Our website is an excellent way to build good relationships with citizens and to make visitors feel welcome. The new design allows us to present information in a smart and efficient way, whether that information is department-based or service-based. Making information easier to find is a continuing priority as the new site evolves over time.”

Customer service is at the heart of the project, according to Bill Greeves, the County’s Director of Communications and Information Technology Department. “This redesign was a long time in the making, but we wanted to ensure that we got it right. We wanted the right partner and the right design and technology base to be the type of world-class service that our citizens demand and deserve. Thanks to the leadership and input from our Board of Supervisors, the hard work of dozens of employees across the County and the technical guidance offered by our partners at CivicPlus, we’ve created a powerful, user-friendly site that we can all be proud of.”

Visitors will also find tools to help keep them informed about County-related public meetings, programs, news, and special events. For example, a new “Notify Me” option on the homepage allows visitors to sign up to receive emergency and special alerts, news flashes, bids and

calendar notifications, via email or text message, from county departments ranging from the library and social services to trash collection and recreation.

Another significant change is that the new website is now accessible from smartphones. When accessed from a mobile device, CivicPlus websites automatically detect and display the mobile version, fit to display on any mobile phone. County news and information also can now be shared more easily using new social media links provided at the top of every page.

The County entered into a three-year contract with CivicPlus early last year. The $92,000 cost covers the design, hosting, branding services, a new content management system and upgrades for the next three years.

“CivicPlus goes beyond websites to create powerful, easy-to-use community engagement systems that connect people with government in new, more efficient ways,” said Ward Morgan, CEO of CivicPlus. “Roanoke County officials have done a great job of providing a wide variety of activities and services to citizens and the free software upgrades that come with our service will continue to help them communicate in new, more efficient ways.”

Roanoke County’s Economic Development office also is redesigning its site with the assistance of CivicPlus. The Economic Development site is expected to be complete in April.