In response to changing technology, the needs of parents and guardians and general societal trends towards website usage, Lakehead Public Schools has designed and launched a new website – www.lakeheadschools.ca. The website was developed in-house by computer services and communications staff. The site compliments and supports the ongoing social media efforts of Lakehead Public Schools and replaces the previous website that was introduced in 2012.
“Through stakeholder input and comprehensive monitoring tools, we were able to develop a website architecture that would be appealing and relevant to our main stakeholders – our parents and guardians,” says Dave Covello, Manager of Information Technology and Corporate Planning, Lakehead Public Schools. “The feedback and the monitoring data provided valuable insights into many aspects of visitor behaviour.”
The previous Lakehead Public Schools website was monitored over the course of 51 days in January and February 2014. During that time, there were 27,310 visits and 19,957 clicks on the front page. The analytic monitoring process also showed that mobile and tablet traffic accounted for almost one third of visits to the previous website.
“Through the monitoring process, we also learned that mobile and tablet visitors left shortly after landing on the main page as the site was not friendly to those types of devices,” says Covello. “We know that the use of mobile and tablet devices is increasing world-wide and it is imperative that we provide a site that is accessible to those types of devices.”
In response to the feedback and monitoring findings, the new Lakehead Public Schools website was developed using WordPress and followed the principles of responsive design to ensure that it can be accessed on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The monitoring data and input from stakeholders also provided an opportunity to review and revise the content and resources that is available on the website to make it more appealing and relevant to parents and guardians.
New features of the website include:
- Dynamic content management through WordPress
- Simplified header layout and menu navigation
- Rotating messages on the front page with links to priority messages
- Key calls to action by audience – Students, Parents, Board, Community
- Latest Update listing
- Real-time Lakehead Public Schools Twitter updates
- Real-time Lakehead Public Schools YouTube updates
- Re-designed footer with key contact information and maps
- Upcoming events with links to full calendar style view
- Links to Lakehead Public Schools social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and Slideshare
The new website is reflective of the commitment to technology by the Lakehead District School Board. Lakehead Public Schools is currently in the third year of the $3.71 million plan which has supported numerous technology projects in all schools including:
- Full wireless coverage
- Desktops and laptops for secondary students
- Portable SMART boards for Kindergarten classrooms
- Laptops for elementary students
- iPAD tablets for elementary and secondary schools
- Server infrastructure and school bandwidth improvements
- Staff Training