Whether you’re searching for commercial real estate information, hunting for the perfect apartment or just want to know more about the area, www.westchasedistrict.com is your source for all that and more. Visited by more than 20,000 users each month, the website received a major overhaul this summer that resulted in not only a fresh new look, but usability boosts that will ensure that visitors can find what they’re looking for more quickly.
“The old website was working fine, but it had been four years since we last redesigned it,” said Sherry Fox, Westchase District’s vice president of communications. “In that time, there’s been a new pope, a new president and at least two more movies with Minions in them – we thought it was time to take a fresh look at things.” For expertise, Fox turned to BQR Advertising, the Westchase District-based firm behind the District’s digital advertising campaigns. BQR spent a half-day with District staff reexamining what services the District provides, how those services are reflected online and what pages website users visit most.
“The good news was that Westchase District is rock solid in communicating what we call its five pillars: amenities, safety, mobility, beautification and vision,” said Vicki Roy, principal with BQR. “Westchase District has a tremendous wealth of information for visitors to view and download. The challenge was in determining how to group the information in ways that are easy to find.”
Condensed and simplified
One of the goals of the redesign was for users to be able to access any page within two page clicks, so Roy and her team cut the number of drop-down menu choices in half. “We don’t want information to be buried so deeply in the website that users can’t access it easily,” Roy said. “Another goal was to limit the amount of text on each page so that users can scan pages quickly to find what they’re looking for.”
At a glance, users can view commercial real estate stats, residential information, area demographics, and news and events. In the top right-hand corner of every page is the icon for the FindIt Map, where users can search for bus routes, parks and trails, restaurants, hotels, banks, schools and churches. At the bottom of every page users can contact staff and visit the District’s social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Of course, the website is optimized to be viewable on any sized device, from desktop and laptop computers to tablets and smartphones. “Unless you’re looking at a map, you shouldn’t have to do a lot of pinching and zooming with your fingers or your mouse,” Fox said. “All the content you want will be there, presented in a way that’s easy to find and easy to read.”
Fox encouraged people to spend some time exploring the new site and to not hesitate suggesting improvements. “Even though we think it’s the latest and greatest, I’m sure there’s always something that can be made better,” she said. “But we can’t do it if we don’t know about it, so if you have a suggestion please contact us with it.”