Case Study: The Municipality of Penn Hills

The Municipality of Penn Hills wanted to update the front-end of their website to a more modern and mobile-friendly design. They also wanted to add some additional functionality, like a pavilion rental feature. And, on the back-end they wanted a more intuitive Content Management System (CMS) interface. Their staff needed to be able to add bulletin board notices, meeting minutes and other documents to the site. 

A screenshot of the Penn Hills homepage before the redesign. The homepage is text have and the design is outdated.

The Penn Hills website before the GovUnity redesign.

Some Notable Features of this project include:  

  • Online pavilion rental 
  • Bulletin Board/Announcement feed 
  • Social media integration  
  • Responsive design  
  • WordPress CMS 
  • Online forms 
  • Mega menus 

Project Phases:  

GovUnity’s website design process consists of 4 phases. 

Phase 1: Project Strategy Discussion: 

The GovUnity team worked with the municipality’s contact to discuss likes and dislikes of the existing website. The Penn Hills team also provided links to example websites. This helped GovUnity’s web designers understand their goals for the new website better. One specific goal that was discussed was how to revise the website menu structure to be more user-friendly.  

Phase 2: Initial Design & Content Population: 

The next step in the process is to create a development environment to begin work on the new website. In this case the GovUnity team created two different domains and provided the Penn Hills team with links to both. This allowed the municipality to compare different homepage and landing page designs. As work continued the layout of the website was fine-tuned using one of these domains.  

Content on the site was populated using materials from the existing site and any other assets provided by Penn Hills. The GovUnity team took care of migrating any important content from the existing site to the development site. Communication between the Penn Hills team and GovUnity’s team continued throughout this phase. And, GovUnity worked closely with the Parks and Recreations department to develop a pavilion rental system that would be easy for both staff and residents to use.   

Phase 3: Testing & Search Engine Optimization (SEO): 

SEO is always at the forefront of all of our projects, it is something our team considers from start to finish. During the design phase GovUnity’s staff worked to ensure that images had proper tags and that keywords were used in tags, page titles, meta descriptions, and content.  We also minimized dead links, redirects, and 404 pages. After the website launched, we submitted the XML sitemap to search engines for indexing. Prior to launch we also worked with the Penn Hills team to test the website, which helps ensure that it is functioning properly before launch.

The GovUnity team also places a high emphasis on accessibility. Our web designers are members of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, who understand the requirements that local governments must meet. We worked to ensure that the Municipality’s website complied with WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. For more information about website accessibility check out these 7 common mistakes

A screenshot of the Penn hills homepage after the redesign. The design is more modern and user-friendly.

The Penn Hills homepage after the GovUnity redesign.

Phase 4: Website Launch & Training:  

For this project website training was completed with the Penn Hills website administrator before the launch via a screen-share meeting. The website administrator opted to add new content and notices to the development site himself. This is because he was also updating the current site prior to launching the new site. So, adding this information himself allowed him to become familiar with the backend of the new website.  

A detailed and customized training guide was also completed and provided as a future reference guide. Some minor adjustments were requested and promptly addressed after training. Then the website was prepared to launch.  

Penn Hills received a modern and responsive website built on a user-friendly CMS platform. All work on this project was completed remotely. In response to COVID 19 GovUnity is now offering website design and hosting services to communities without a web presence as part of a $70/month 3-year contract. This offer is valid now through December 31st. Contact GovUnity today and work with our team of experts to build a website that meets all of your needs.