Valley View schools unveil 'faster, more efficient' websites
A redesigned website package for all 22 Valley View School District 365U schools is expected to provide consistency of information and ease of use for parents and staff.
Calling the original website design “cluttered,” Robert Petitto, the district’s K-5 instructional technology specialist, said the district wanted to create a streamlined site so parents and the community could have speedy access to information about the district and each school.
Parents and district staff members were having difficulties navigating through the old site, he said, and the new updates should change that.
“Users will get a nice, consistent feel,” Petitto said.
The updated site rolled out Friday.
Petitto said a parent with a child moving from elementary school to middle school will see the same layout on the web pages of each school. An area for school events and school news will also be on the main page of each site.
Petitto added the functionality of the system has changed, but the content and information contained in dropdown tabs will remain the same. Tabs on each page include “district,” “community,” “parents,” “students,” “staff resources” and “about us.”
“The accessibility is better. It’s faster and more efficient. Now you don’t have to navigate through multiple folders to get what you want,” he added.
Dave Seiden, the district’s database and web development manager, described the new site as having a more contemporary look with a layout “more in keeping with what you see on a professional website.”
“It’s more consistent. Before, when people visited individual school pages the layout was the same, but content was noticeably different. All content is now in dropdown menus and users will get a nice consistent feel,” Seiden said.
While each school page will contain the same layout, the pages will feature the schools’ individual colors as well as images of each school.
Valley View utilized the web hosting company Edline, which is also known for its Blackboard system, in the redesign. There was no added cost to the school district for the redesign, as it was completed by staff members, according to Larry Randa, spokesman for Valley View School District.
The revamped district site has been in the works for more than a year, with staff and administration officials providing input on how information needed to be featured and shared. Although a year in the making, with countless man hours involved, the upgrade did not cost the district any additional funds, Petitto said.
“We’re actually expecting it to reduce costs,” he said.
In addition to ease of accessibility, Petitto said the recent software upgrades include features he likes, including a function that allows pages and information to be shared via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The software also includes programming to translate the pages into several dozen different languages, he said.
“If I’m a parent whose native language is Spanish, I can translate that page. It will event translate into language characters such as those used in Chinese languages,” Petitto said.
Advocates of transparency will also be pleased, Petitto said. Each school page will contain features that include overall district and community information.
“The folders will be the same across every page in the district. The menu items will be the same and it will offer greater transparency because people will have immediate access without searching all over,” Petitto said. “No one wants to sit there and click through to find what they want.”
Petitto and Seiden said the new site will roll out over the winter break in order to give students, staff and parents a chance to become familiar with the site before the new term begins.
“This will give people a chance to get comfortable with it and will give IT a chance to troubleshoot,” Seiden said. “We want to make sure all the glitches are worked out.”
One aspect of communications the district has not yet been able to take advantage is mobile applications, or apps as they’re more commonly known.
There is no official mobile app, but Petitto and Seiden said they expect that to change soon.
More News News
- Police reports for Hinsdale, Darien
- Future of Keepataw Days in doubt, Lemont festival organizers disbanding
- Metropolitan Family Services helps the hungry this holiday with ingredient distribution
- Glen Ellyn organization makes final plea for donations to meet holiday needs
- Westchester man's 20-year sentence for Riverside burglary overturned on Tuesday