County launches redesigned, mobile-friendly website

Initiative incorporated customer feedback and analytics, county staff says

The new homepage for features a Siesta Key Beach lifeguard stand. Image from the county website

On July 26, Sarasota County Government undertook a “soft” launch of a significant renovation of its website. The goal, a county news release explains, was to make the site more responsive to reflexive design and mobile devices.

“The result is a more modern, functional and visually attractive site that will meet our citizens in all the places they gather information, whether it’s at home, in the office or on the phone,” the website points out.

“The average lifespan of a website is three to five years, but this is the first significant rebuild of in nearly a decade,” Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer said in the release. “Since then, we’ve seen the rise of social media and a countless array of mobile devices. All of these developments are driving new trends in web design.”

In keeping with the county’s emphasis on customer service, the revamped site features a more user-friendly layout aimed at helping people “find the information they seek quickly and efficiently,” the release adds. The search bar, which is the most heavily used feature on the site, the release points out, “is larger and placed front and center in the new design.” “Decisions about the site’s content and navigation were guided by customer feedback and analytics, which found that of approximately 2,000 different pages on the previous, 80 percent of the site’s traffic was directed to just 44 of them,” the release explains.

The site’s new design adapts to smartphones, laptops and tablets, keeping content centered in the viewing area, the release continues. “It also considers the performance of the user’s device, the size of files and how fast they load on different speed networks.”

“By giving people access to information across a variety of platforms, we’re giving them greater access to county events, programs and services,” Harmer said in the release.

To learn more about the new website, or for navigation assistance, call the county Contact Center at 861-5000.