School district debuts new website

Revamp aims for easier navigation, reliability, efficiency

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The Douglas County School District recently debut its redesigned website, a $225,000 investment district leaders said is more reliable, easier to navigate and allows for quicker updates. It also is intended to serve as the best place to find facts during a crisis.

“The primary source of information during an emergency should be our website,” DCSD spokesman Randy Barber said.

The new site got its first surge of visitors a day after its debut, when a few inches of snow drew parents and students checking for possible schedule changes.

“One of the most important things our website is used for is sharing of information like school closures and delays,” Barber said. “We revamped that entire tool. We were very happy to have it in front of folks (that day).”

The nine-month project was triggered in part by complaints about the now defunct site.

“What we heard loud and clear was that on the old website, people had trouble finding important things,” Barber said. “We wanted to make sure we had a website that was easy to navigate.

“Coming from a school district that's all about innovation and excellence, we wanted a website that matched that.”

Denver-based Educational Measures LLC, which also created DCSD's mobile app, contracted with the district to redesign the website.

Barber believes the $225,000 is money well spent.

“We take every expenditure here at the Douglas County School District very seriously,” he said. “Looking at the project in total, I think the benefits outweigh the cost.

“This website really provides us with an ability the old one didn't. In the event of an emergency, we can put up a page within minutes. We don't have to have a web developer do that for us. That's a really great change for us.”

Additionally, Barber said the previous website would have required updating at further cost.

The website last was updated in 2011. Given the rapid pace of technology, Barber said he couldn't say how soon another major change will be required.

But he said, “When we invest in our district, we want those investments to last as long as possible. Our intention is to make it last for a long time.”

Visit the new site at www.dcsdk12.org.

2 comments on this story | Add your comment
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JimMartin

As always, more money down the drain with little to show for it and a very average if not bad site to say the least. It is 2014 and there are many ways to do what this article describes for less money and effort and when the web site was designed in 2011 they should have had the ability to set this up at the time.

The site is still very hard to use, navigate, a person holding a brain is not attractive, etc

Before the next $250K redesign in 2 years, perhaps have someone read the book called

Don't Make Me Think

http://www.sensible.com/dmmt.html

Thursday, January 30 | Report this
K_Leyba

I agree with the previous comment that the new site is not visually appealing, and I am also concerned about the financial expenditure, while our high school students have lost options in courses, are often not allowed to take a full course load, and have lost over ten hours of instructional time in each class. I agree that the website needs to be functional, easy to navigate, and easy to update. However, a complete revision at the cost to taxpayers equivalent to hiring three highly qualified teachers is fiscally irresponsible. Add to that the difficulties of using this website on a smartphone (text overlaps and is unreadable), the initial spelling errors (most have been corrected now), and other difficulties I have come across, and it is clear that this is an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars. Randy Barber states that the website should be the primary source of information in a crisis. I would argue that email and text updates need to be the PRIMARY source, as parents will not know that they should be checking the website if they are not initially made aware of a crisis. It looks like the upper administration of DCSD has again missed the mark.

Thursday, January 30 | Report this