READING NAMED WEBSITE OF THE YEAR
Website redesign project recognized for excellence at MMA conference
(READING, MA – JANUARY 23, 2023) – Reading, Mansfield, Weston, and Avon won the MMA’s annual municipal website awards, which were announced during the MMA Annual Meeting on Jan. 20 in Boston.
The awards recognize excellence in customer service, functionality, convenience, and government transparency delivered by a municipal website in Massachusetts. Awards are given in four population categories.
Population over 25,000: Reading — www.readingma.gov
Reading began its website redesign work in August 2021 working with its website vendor CivicPlus to move from the CivicEngage Open platform to CivicEngage Central. The project team was led by Business Administrator Jayne Wellman and included Technology Director Kevin Furilla, Senior Computer Technician Patrick McLaughlin, Software Coordinator Jennifer Iosua, Economic Development Director Erin Schaeffer, Administrative Specialist Jacquelyn LaVerde, Computer Technician Amy Kerr, and Administrative Services Director (now Assistant Town Manager) Matthew Kraunelis.
“The new site was a result of months of consistent work by a dedicated crew of professionals working collaboratively and across our departments to deliver a robust tool to meet the growing needs of our residents, businesses, and guests,” said Wellman. “We are thrilled with the MMA’s recognition and the support of Town Managers Bob LeLacheur and Fidel Maltez as well as Reading Select Board Members.”
New features on the site included upgraded search functionality, a chatbot for signed-in users, a live social media feed, quick link buttons to frequently visited departments, improved links to communication tools, payment systems, a community events calendar, an improved Economic Development experience, and more.
This year’s contest judge was Brianna Sunryd, director of communications and civic innovation for the town of Amherst.
Municipal websites are evaluated using the following criteria:
• Current and timely information
• Use of social media and tools for online community engagement (including an events calendar)
• Intuitive navigation tools and organization of material
• Ease of access to resources for residents, such as the ability to apply for licenses and permits, pay bills, order documents and make suggestions
• Availability of public records
• Clear branding as the official municipal government site
• Robust search function
• Mobile-responsive design
• Details about municipal departments
• Visual appeal and overall experience