Island County unveils new, modern website

Island County this week revamped its website, modernizing its look, feel and capability, said Rick Hannold, chairman of the Island County commissioners.

“I pushed for maximum ease of use, and it looks like they’ve done a good job with that,” Hannold said Thursday.

The revamped site, with the new URL of www.islandcountywa.gov, loses the old greenish hues and boxy layout in favor of big color images, pop-up menus and a generally more contemporary appearance. It’s more functional too, said county Information Technology Director John Kent.

“There are multiple ways to get to information instead of just a single way that could be hard to figure out,” he said.

Departments can now update their web pages themselves rather than relying on the IT department, he said. Reaching some departments’ pages formerly required going off the website to external sites, but for the most part that’s no longer necessary.

Visitors can sign up for email notifications of meetings and events that especially interest them. The new feature wasn’t working properly during the initial rollout, but that bug and others appear to have been fixed.

Such glitches are to be expected, Kent said, because the new site is still in its trial run. Feedback on the revamped website is welcome and should be sent to itdstaff@co.island.wa.us, or call 360-679-7305.

“I’ve already gotten a lot of responses from people, and they say the difference is night and day,” he said.

Within six to nine months, a further upgrade to the site will let visitors search for and sift through more county data, such as reports and permits, Kent said.

The old website was created in December 1998, with a re-format in 2008. Commissioner Jill Johnson had significant input into the website’s redesign, Hannold said.