Living in an era where information is easily accessible at the tips of your fingers, one of our goals at the city is to improve our digital presence so residents can easily find what they are looking for. Whether you are searching for Seasons classes, the latest city news or how to report a pothole in your neighborhood, you should be able to access this all and more online in mere minutes.
In an effort to enhance our commitment to transparency and seamless user experience, I am excited to announce that a new city website, completely designed and built by our Information Services division, will be live and ready for use on Monday, Sept. 25, by visiting SantaClarita.gov.
As you arrive on the homepage, you’ll notice it is a one-stop shop for anything you may need. Before development began on the website, a survey was sent out to the community to find out what was wanted most out of this redesign and an easy-to-navigate website was at the top of the list.
Searching to sign up for an adult sports league or an afterschool program for your kids at one of our community centers? Look no further! With an appealing dashboard-style interface, users can easily find what they need.
SantaClarita.gov is also the city’s first-ever mobile-first website. Nearly everyone carries a small computer in their pocket, so it was an important aspect to make sure the new website runs smoother than ever on mobile devices. Previous websites built primarily for desktop computers would change shape on your cellphone, but SantaClarita.gov will not let you down as you scroll through.
This transformation is more than just a cosmetic makeover. It reflects a characteristic that is important now more than ever: security. The first element of this new website is in the name: .gov. The last time the domain changed was in 1999 from ci.santa-clarita.ca.us to santa-clarita.com, so SantaClarita.gov is not only a website easier to remember and type, but also it’s one you can trust. Only government agencies can own a .gov domain name, so when you are online applying for a building permit or submitting a public records request, rest assured that .gov is a clear indicator you are using an official government resource. Credibility is also an important factor to consider when using SantaClarita.gov. You will be able to access the most recent press releases and articles straight from the source, via the city news section on the home page.
I’m sure you’ve seen Sammy Clarita, the city’s official mascot, at the Fourth of July Parade, Santa Clarita Public Library events and more, but now, Sammy has gone digital! One of my favorite elements of the new website, and I’m sure will become yours too, is Ask Sammy. Sammy will be there with you on SantaClarita.gov at all times to deliver answers to any questions you may have and even create requests for you. With artificial-intelligence-driven technology, Ask Sammy will be able to accurately direct you to different areas of the website, as well as use information from published sources to provide top-tier assistance. Ask Sammy and the website’s overall navigation will also be attached to a smart search engine and will incorporate results from other city-owned websites, such as GreenSantaClarita.com and SantaClaritaArts.com. By searching on the smart search engine, SantaClarita.gov will be able to deliver information from these websites directly to you.
SantaClarita.gov will also be more Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant, focusing on features for the visually impaired. Users will now be able to navigate through the redesigned website using a screen reader application, which will describe what they are looking at. Color contrast was also an important factor in the design. By thoughtfully placing colored text against backgrounds that make it easier to see, SantaClarita.gov will be a refined platform overall.
As the city of Santa Clarita continues to grow, the need for a place to go to easily find information and access resources at a moment’s notice is crucial. With its modern aesthetics, enhanced accessibility and interactive features, this website redesign and domain change to SantaClarita.gov is set to make a positive impact on the overall quality of life in the city. Visit SantaClarita.gov on Monday, Sept. 25, to navigate its new interface and experience it firsthand!
Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].