A major improvement is underway for the website of the Town of Hay River.
Judy Goucher, the senior administrative officer for the town, said it is still a work in progress.
Goucher noted a soft launch of the new website took place in early October.
“It’s still new,” she said. “We haven’t made a lot of announcements about it or tried to point people directly to it because we’re still working through and adding content, and making sure all the links are working as they should. It’s been up and running for a couple of weeks now.”
Goucher said, at some point, the town will be actively advising residents of the website and asking them to go and check it out.
That launch will likely happen about the end of November.
Goucher is happy with the website improvements so far.
“I’m pleased in part because it’s much more functional for us,” she said. “Once we have enough people trained on it, we’ll be able to make much more timely changes. So that’s important. I like how the content is organized. You can find your way to whatever you’re looking for a few different ways.”
Goucher said the goal was to make the website easier to navigate.
“Ultimately, the users will tell us whether or not we achieved that goal,” she said, noting people can offer their feedback on the site.
Goucher also noted the new colour scheme is evocative of the Northern lights and is pleasing to the eye.
The different look of the website is also due to new photography.
“We’ve brought in a lot of local photographer work into this version,” said Goucher. “So our plan is to continue that to portray our town through photos. We’ve tried to introduce and will continue to introduce on almost every page some sort of photo that represents Hay River and area.”
The town worked with an Ontario company called Barking Dog Studios in creating the new website.
The work was done with about $25,000 from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment and an equal amount from the town itself.
Goucher said the basics of the website are there, and the plan is to build up the content quite a bit more.
“And with feedback from residents, we’ll make further improvements as time goes on,” she said.
The site already contains the town’s bylaws.
Mayor Mapes is also pleased with the website.
“I think it looks great,” he said.
Mapes said that, in the next few weeks, a lot of good information will be added to the website.
Plus, he added, “It’s going to be way easier to use.”
The town had originally hoped to have the new website created by the end of July.
“But it was really a matter of us sort of going through and gathering our content,” Goucher said. “That took us a little bit longer. We had a few more files, other priority files, that we had to deal with over that same timeframe.”