Monday, August 1, 2016

Minnetonka Public Schools' Website Gets a Facelift

Last week Minnetonka launch a new district website, and it looks awesome! Our online presence was overdue for a facelift; we last launched a new website in 2012. Our new website is in Finalsite. The new website incorporates the latest features that viewers in 2016 have come to expect in web-based content: video, images, infographics and interactive feeds with social media. I love the homepage background video that gives visitors an overview of many of the great things happening in our schools. (This video is not visible to mobile visitors.)

Internet Archive's WayBack Machine shows the changes in our website over the years (pictured below). Scrolling through screenshots of our home pages over the years, even with some of the images missing, is a trip down memory lane and a fun visual history lesson of the internet. So much has changed in what is possible with web technology and content management systems over the past two decades since I was teaching my fourth graders basic HTML. (See How Long is Stuff Really Out There? My Students' 1995 Digital Footprint.)

The work on this project began last winter when our Communications and Technology departments began planning. A website redesign committee was formed and met to discuss what we needed in a new website. The committee included staff from the Communications, Technology, Instructional Technology, Athletic and Student Accounting departments as well as teachers, students and principals. We discussed what changes we wanted to see in a new website and reviewed our current structure of menus and pages.

We also conducted a public survey to evaluate what people liked (and did not like) about our website. 1,096 parents, students and staff responded to the survey. Along with that data, we looked at analytics on our most frequently visited pages to determine what the most popular pages were so that we could make sure they are detailed and easy to navigate to on the new site. Finally, the committee researched and evaluated school websites from around the world and listed what we liked best from each.

In February we reviewed proposals from vendors and selected Finalsite. After this decision the real work began. Our Communications staff moved and edited over 1,200 pages of content from our old site to the new one. Take time to look through our new website. We welcome your feedback!

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