Melissa Riley, of Tampa, front, gets some direction from County Communication director Lori Hudson while navigating the county’s re-designed interactive website. The test drive held at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, allowed residents to get acquainted with the new site.

After almost a year in the making, Hillsborough County is ready to launch its  brand new, completely re-designed, interactive Website, but not before giving residents a chance to test drive its pilot site and collect some feedback.
Residents were on hand earlier this month to do just that, welcomed by county officials at local libraries throughout the county during the test drive hours.

According to Hillsborough County spokesperson Lori Hudson, at each test drive attendees had the opportunity to try out the site and fill out a short survey and comment on what they think about the project.

“They could see what the changes are, get some one-on-one time with our staff and learn to navigate the new website content as well as give us their feedback,” Hudson said. “Their responses will be used to fine tune the final version of the Website, which is to be launched at the end of the month.”

Project Manager Brian Roberts explained that employees from all departments have worked on the  project with the CivicPlus design and development teams over a period of seven months to make this vision a reality. 
“CivicPlus has designed more than 1,000 local government websites,” Roberts said.

Tampa resident Melissa Riley took advantage of the test drive held at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, located at1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, and was pleased with what she saw.

“I use the Website often and what I see here seems much cleaner and easier to navigate,” Riley said. 

Riley’s observation and conclusion may have had a lot to do with the fact that the re-designed site has eliminated more than 7,000 pages, bringing the Website to its new, 1,700 page format, with continued improvements.

Roberts also emphasized that while under the direction of the county’s communication department, each county department will have ownership of their individual pages, giving them the responsibility to update and add to their site. 
The county spent $300,000 on the new Website, covering the next five years, followed by an annual maintenance fee of  $24,000, county officials said.

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