Olentangy Valley News

District sets sights on improved web presence

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The Olentangy Local School District hopes to have a more modern and responsive website in place by next spring.

Olentangy spokesman Michael Straughter said the current design of the district's website, launched in 2008-09, has room for improvement.

"Technology has come a long way from when the district adopted that site," he said.

Responses for the district's requests for proposals to redesign the site were due earlier this week.

The website currently sees 1,500 unique visitors weekly. The most popular features include the district calendar, school home pages, the parent portal and information on the Olentangy school board.

Straughter said the district wants users to see major changes when they log on to the new site next spring.

He said parents have been asking for a more useful calendar on the site.

"They're looking for a more robust calendar," he said. "That's the biggest feature we're hearing (about)."

The redesigned website's calendar should feature a greater level of interactivity, such as possibly allowing parents to receive e-mail updates about events or make reservations.

The district also hopes the redesign will allow for easier navigation. Straughter said the project should add more interaction to the utilitarian site.

"We've got great content on our site ... but it is difficult to find," Straughter said.

He said users who log into the redesigned site via their PowerSchool account likely will be directed to their most-used resources. New users will be guided to resources for beginners.

"The site becomes smart enough to know what your child is looking for," Straughter said.

The district hopes the updated website also will work better with smartphones and tablets. Straughter said two-thirds of the website's visitors -- excluding teachers accessing the site from work -- currently are loading the site via a mobile device.

Straughter said the district is open to a responsive website -- one that scales automatically to whatever device is being used to access it -- or a separate app that would be available for download.

Officials also want the redesign to improve on how the website interacts with popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

"Social media doesn't reach everybody, but we do find that there is a considerable amount of our constituency that is already there," Straughter said.

The district has not set a firm budget for the project yet. Straughter said that could be decided after district officials examine the submitted proposals.

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