New website for Unit 4

I have been invited to beta test the new website that Unit 4 is currently polishing in anticipation for the “big reveal” in the very near future.

There are a number of goodies and characteristics that help launch the school district’s web presence into the modern times. A majority of my comments in this post are going to be positive; I have submitted constructive criticisms already and we will see what Unit 4 will do with them.

  • Search: You can now simply search for keywords without having to go to google first. Very handy! 🙂
  • More navigation options; aside from Search and a couple more menu items to navigate from, the sitemap is now located at the bottom of every single page (easy to miss if you don’t scroll down)
  • Schools are now plotted via google maps
  • New directory mechanism that provides contact information and a brief profile (including space for a picture), with its own search and filtering buttons. Also very handy.
  • RSS feed for the “News” page
  • New Calendar system – filters allow one to see individual schools in addition to the district. I have asked if has an open/public API
  • Twitter feed right on the front page

It looks and feels like a fresh website. There are still some minor things they are working out (ie, content), and I have asked questions about navigation.

Once it opens up in the near future, I would be curious to hear what you all think.

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6 Responses to “New website for Unit 4”

  1. M. Hinz (@MHinz1) Says:

    Hopefully they keep it up to date!

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      In fact, I asked the webmaster (Brian Trout) about that a few weeks ago; they are trying the make the whole thing easier to update as an incentive to content providers to keep things up to date. Unfortunately, it still comes down to individuals that hold responsibilities to do so, which is something the new technology cannot directly effect. We need more of a web 2.0 culture to get that done. 🙂

  2. pattsi Says:

    I trust Unit 4 has invited and/or you suggested that non computer whizzes unlike yourself be part of the Beta-testing team. You are not a good norm.
    Further, here is the message I received today concerning the transparency scoring of the county web site juxtapositioned against all of the Illinois counties. You might want to take a look at the following information to better judge just how transparent this new web site actually is. “The 2013 Illinois Policy Institute Special Report on Illinois’ 102 County On-line Transparency Audit. It is noted in this report that Champaign County ranks 8th of all the counties.” See more information at the following two web sites.

    http://illinoispolicy.org/news/article.asp?ArticleSource=6039

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/67671012/102_counties.pdf

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      I did, and I was assured they are pulling from a bit of a crosssection of the district. I also suggested they have someone with a mobile device test it, since I do not have a mobile device.

  3. Molly Says:

    Yay! The current website has been driving me crazy how it doesn’t work on mobile devices. And a search feature… finally. Looking forward to seeing it go public!

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    so… what do you all think?


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