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In the News: More Innovations On Tap For Township Website

FRANKLIN REPORTER & ADVOCATE (July 8, 2014) The Franklin Web site should be streaming Township Council meetings by the end of the year, according to the township’s Information Technology director.

Once council meetings are streamed live, the effort will be turned to stream Planning Board and Zoning board meetings, he said.

Also on tap: an interactive online directory of the township’s parks and trails.

The updates were part of a mid-year review of the township’s revamped Web site, which was debuted in January. Township IT director Justin Heyman said the site is on track to have 40 percent more viewers this year than in 2013, under the old design.

“In 2013, on the old site, we had 85,000 unique viewers,” he said. “This year, in six months, we already have 60,000 visitors.”

Heyman said township residents are overall happy with the redesigned Web site.

“When we launched in January, we launched with an online survey,” he said.“The response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

About 98 percent of the responses were positive, he said, “and maybe 2 percent was some constructive criticism, like ‘I’d like to see this,’ ” he said.

Heyman said Web site visitors have also learned how to navigate the site easier, a fact, he said, borne out by the decreasing number of pages visited in the average session.

“The number of pages that each visitor is visiting has gone down from eight pages to five pages,” he said. “Visitors are finding the information much quicker and much easier, getting the information they need, acting on it and moving on. Which is just what we wanted them to do.”

The township recreation department’s page is the most visited, he said, followed by tax collection, the police department and the courts.

Ashley Fruechting, director of Strategic Initiatives for the township’s Web consultant Vision Internet, said Franklin’s its is much more technologically advanced than many other municipal Web sites.

That was borne out recently at the 44th annual Creativity International Awards, in which the township’s Web site won an honorable mention.

“It’s exciting for us to work with Franklin because they’re embracing new technology,” she said.

Fruechting said the township will adopt more online tools in the future and “stay on top of things that are happening.”

She said the fact that Franklin’s Web site has been designed to be read on a variety of platforms – computer, mobile and tablet – makes it easier to provide al to of information “without it becoming overwhelming.”

Heyman and Fruechting spoke at the end of last month at a Community Digital Forum, held at the township’s municipal building. The forum was meant to give township residents a more in-depth look at the new site, and also show them how to access information they need.

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