Late in the day on Friday, Maplewood Township launched a big upgrade to its official website at www.maplewoodnj.org (moving from the more difficult to remember url, www. twp.maplewood.nj.us).
In addition to a thoroughly revamped design, the site is now hooked up to social networks through Facebook and Twitter, and allows Maplewoodians to subscribe to news updates via an RSS feed and the e-mail/SMS Notify Me system.
Most importantly, it’s now a lot easier to find what you’re looking for on the site. According to Joseph Manning, Maplewood Township’s Business Administrator and one of the overseers of the upgrade, the seven-year-old site was, “cumbersome, cluttered and it [took] several clicks to get to the information one is typically looking for.” So he and the town’s Communications Committee accepted a redesign proposal from CivicPlus, a Kansas firm that specializes in building government websites. The result is a homepage with a spiffier look, simpler navigation, and more of the info residents need right up front.
One noteworthy new feature of the site is a Carbon Calculator which, according to The Maplewood Leaflet, “can be used to help you conceptualize how your daily activities emit carbon dioxide (CO2) that contributes to global warming. This carbon calculator is based on local energy calculations. The Township of Maplewood is a State leader in Green Community and this tool will eventually help the Township become much greener.” (CivicPlus also used carbon offsets to make the energy powering the project greener.)
The redesign brings Maplewood’s official web presence on par with leading digital neighbors in Baristaville like Montclair and Clifton, both of which sport spiffy web 2.0 sites. What do you think of the new Maplewood site? And if you’re surfing over from elsewhere in Baristaville, are you satisfied with your town’s website?