Butte-Silver Bow has made big changes to its website so it’s easier and faster to navigate, with more icons and features that should put information at your fingertips without as much scrolling.
“The idea was to make it a little more user-friendly,” said Joey Parchen, the county’s online business systems analyst.
The most prominent feature on the redesigned homepage – found at co.silverbow.mt.us — is a large search bar in the middle of a screen-wide photo of Butte area scenery.
It says “What can we help you find?” and by typing in the topic, be it taxes, parking tickets, a county employee you’re looking for – it brings up the pertinent information or contacts. Search bars aren’t new, but the idea behind this one is you can’t miss it.
Below that are links to the local weather and three popular online services, including “Notify Me” that lets you sign up for texts or emails about such things as bid openings and updates, news flashes and upcoming government meetings.
That isn’t new either but it’s easier to find. The next box takes you to links to all the services and payments you can do online such as ordering birth certificates, paying state taxes or renewing car registrations.
Then there’s “Submit a Request” that allows you to request such things as bid packages, meeting agendas and other information. You can also report potholes, streetlights that are out, trees that need pruning, weeds problems and others.
The page also features timely community items that include news on local elections, the soon-to-open Uptown parking garage, major renovations planned for Stodden Park and the story of a $101,505 donation to the Butte animal shelter.
Those are not only informative to area residents, Parchen says, they help showcase Butte to anyone anywhere.
“It is advertising us to anyone who will see it,” he said. “We want to focus on the positive.”
There are also items under “Butte Spotlight” that outsiders would find useful such as links to the Butte Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and the Butte Archives.
It’s now easier to check out upcoming community events and meetings, with a calendar toward the bottom of the home page that indicates what days of the month have either going on.
Just click meetings, for example, and the days with them will be highlighted with times to the side. Click on the specific meeting and it takes you to the precise time and place and allows you to see the meeting agenda if it’s ready.
Many other pages have been redesigned, too.
The page for Parks and Recreation used to have all kinds of news and information but getting to much of it required seemingly endless scrolling down.
It now has just one parks homepage with icons that link to additional information. They include an “outdoors” icon of a hiker that takes viewers to information about trails, fishing and camping.
There are others on reserving park pavilions, sports leagues, the YMCA, skiing, aquatics and announcements — each with an icon that people can identify with immediately.
“It’s true – an image is worth a thousand words,” Parchen said.
As another example of the changes, the page for the Chelsea Bailey Animal Shelter now features large, rotating, portrait-quality photos of some of the dogs up for adoption and smaller ones for “Pet of the Week” and “Adoption of the Week.”
There are links to additional information such as licenses and reporting lost animals, but not enough to crowd and clutter the page. And they can all be viewed on one screen with scrolling down and down and down.
In case you didn’t know, all Council of Commissioners meetings are now live-streamed, as are meetings for the Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Board and Zoning Board. All can be accessed via the website.
Parchen joined the county a few months ago but the changes to the website have been a year in the making. More are planned and revisions will be ongoing, he said.
“When people ask when it will be completely all done, I say never,” he said with a smile.