When the city council of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, approved the expenditure of funds for redesigning the city’s 7‐year‐old website, the communication division sprang into action to strategically develop and implement an engaging, dynamic and useful website that would better reflect Eden Prairie’s brand.
Prior to the launch of its redesigned website in spring 2012, the City of Eden Prairie’s website design had been untouched since 2005. The site was graphically unappealing, extremely difficult to navigate and was built on an inflexible structure which made it difficult to incorporate the online tools the residents of Eden Prairie expected.
The outdated website caused a number of issues for the organization:
- The visually unappealing website reflected a poor image of a city that was quickly gaining notoriety in Minnesota and the nation—Eden Prairie had recently received several local and national accolades, including being named the No. 1 Best Place to Live in America by MONEY Magazine in 2010.
- The clumsy and outdated navigational structure made it difficult for staff and residents to locate information. This affected Parks and Recreation participation numbers, thwarted facility rental profits and created frustrated residents when important information such as snow emergency parking information was too buried to find quickly.More staff time was also spent answering questions on the phone than necessary.
- The communication division often received feedback from frustrated residents who were unable to locate information.
- The content management system (CMS) did not provide for an approval process and was difficult for the average back-end user to understand, which put more pressure on the three communication division staff members to keep the content of the site updated since they were the only users of the CMS.
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