NASHUA — The Nashua School District rolled out its new bolder and brighter website Monday morning, and unlike other websites in the news, there were no major glitches.
The new $49,800 site, designed by the Santa Rosa, Calif.- based company Planeteria, was laid out to be more user-friendly and offer parents and the community easier access to news, information and staff contacts. And because the school website overhaul coincided with Nashua’s branding initiative, the district used the same color scheme and style as the Chamber of Commerce and city websites to give viewers a sense of continuity.
“I think it’s beautiful,” said Board of Education member Elizabeth Van Twuyver. “It’s nice and clean; they did an excellent job.”
Like other members of the board, Van Twuyver was initially reluctant to change the site’s colors and the logo, a red A+ that was part of the word “Nashua.”
“There was a competition and the old logo was chosen by a popular vote by the board and students,” said BOE member Dennis Ryder.
But ultimately, the board went with the tweaked logo and new colors — a yellow and orange mix signifying a sunrise and new beginning and an earthy green because, as Van Twuyver put it, “There were more important things to consider. ”
The new site has prominent buttons to click for news and calendars for the district, the Board of Education and each individual school. A click of the mail button brings a user to a staff directory with email addresses and phone numbers, making it simple to find and contact anyone working in the district.
The home page has a short slide show of images of students, and the entire site is now available in both English and Spanish.
“It’s just much cleaner,” said Van Twuyver, who added that the old site was congested and difficult to wade through.
According to a short letter announcing the launch from Superintendent Mark Conrad, the district reached out to employees, residents, business leaders and families in the different school communities with a survey last June to see what could be done to make the site more useful and user-friendly.
“We received 479 responses to our survey, led seven focus groups, and interviewed 26 individuals on user experiences and user priorities for the new site,” said Conrad, who added that in addition to clearly organized news and announcements, the site now has a search function for easier access to information about programs and services.
The site was designed for easy maintenance and continual updates and will be undergoing any necessary tweaks over the next couple weeks. Anyone with questions about the site should contact Stacy Hynes, director of grants and community development for the school district.