Case Study: Borough of Morris Plains, New Jersey
GovUnity worked with the Borough of Morris Plains to create a modern and user-friendly website design. Their new site is mobile-friendly and features a clean homepage with an organized menu layout. The Borough’s site was built on our user-friendly Content Management System, which allows for several user roles and permissions, giving staff different levels of access to the site.
Notable features of the Borough’s new site include:
- Custom Online Forms
- News & Announcement Feeds
- Calendar & Calendar Feeds (filterable by event category)
- On site Search function
- Searchable & Filterable Staff Directory, Meeting Documents, & Form Library
- Newsletter Signup (integrated with ConstantContact)
- Notification/Alert bar (disabled until needed)
- Photo Galleries
Procurement for this project began when a member of the Brough’s staff requested a free website assessment. GovUnity sent the results of the assessment to the Brough to review. A few months later the Borough issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for website redesign services.
GovUnity received a copy of the Borough’s RFP and submitted a detailed proposal document in response. After reviewing our proposal (along with many others) the Borough interviewed the firms they deemed most qualified. GovUnity was one of the firms asked to interview and provide a demo. Based on the information they received the Borough decided to award the contract to the GovUnity team.
Design & Development:
GovUnity’s personalized website design and development process consists of 4 phases:
Phase 1: Project Strategy Discussion:
To kick off this project, GovUnity’s lead project designer met via Zoom with the Borough’s Website Committee. During these meeting we discussed project objectives and likes/dislikes regarding the current site. We also discussed their goals for the new site, and reviewed example sites provided by the committee. Following the initial phone meeting we created a tentative timeline which detailed tasks assigned to the GovUnity team and to Borough staff.
Phase 2: Initial Design & Content Population:
The GovUnity team created a live development environment for the new Borough of Morris Plains website. Once the design of the development site began to take shape, we shared the link with the Website Committee. This allowed them to monitor our progress, provide feedback, and request changes to the site in real-time. For this project our team created several homepage and landing page variations which were submitted for feedback and comparison.
After finalizing the design, the GovUnity team migrated content from the existing website to the new site. We also added other information provided by Website Committee to the development site. Communication between our team and their staff continued throughout development. The Website Committed requested several modifications and additions, which we addressed promptly.
Phase 3: Testing & Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
Our team considers SEO throughout all of our projects. It is not an afterthought, rather it is at the forefront of everything we do. During the design phase of the project our team:
- Ensures images have appropriate tags.
- Checks all links to minimize redirects and avoid dead links and 404 pages.
- Writes appropriate SEO pages titles and meta descriptions, using the keywords discovered in the planning phase.
- Ensures all content and tags utilize appropriate keywords.
- After the website launches our team also submits an XML sitemap file to major search engines for indexing.
We also prioritize website accessibility. Our team:
- Makes sure that images have appropriate alternative text.
- Creates a design that meets contrast requirements.
- Conducts accessibility audits throughout development.
- We also include accessibility best practices when training clients.
For more information about website accessibility check out this article about common website accessibility mistakes. Beyond SEO and accessibility this phase of the project also includes functionality testing, user-acceptance testing, and mobile-usability testing.
Phase 4: Website Launch & Training
For this project we completed website training before the site launched. Training involved a Zoom meeting with the Borough’s Webmaster. We also provided a detailed and customized training guide for future reference. After the Committee and the project designer finalized the site’s design and content we scheduled a launch date. However, several changes were requested on the day of the scheduled launch. We addressed these changes quickly and, with the Committee’s approval, we launched the new Borough of Morris Plains website the next day.
For more information about our customized and affordable website solutions, contact GovUnity today!