The City of Lathrop, which celebrated its 30th Birthday on Monday, chose to do something a little bit different – give its residents a gift that they’ll be able to enjoy.
More than eight months after signing a contract to begin the process, the City of Lathrop unveiled its new website on Monday – which is fully ADA compliant and packed with features that will make it easier for people to access government information.
And it’ll give Lathrop’s individual departments more flexibility and freedom to share information with a public that is growing increasingly dependent on digital sources.
“Our creative ability was limited under the old site,” said Lathrop City Clerk Teresa Vargas, who spearheaded the effort to overhaul www.ci.lathrop.ca.us. “In order to make the site ADA-compliant we had to do things like add descriptions for each of the photos that can be read to somebody who can’t see them, and make the text much larger and easier to navigate.
“Now individual departments will be able to share PDF documents and videos if that’s something that they want to do, and everybody will be able to have the same access to information.”
In Vargas’ tenure as the City Clerk, Lathrop has moved away from printing large agenda packets for every meeting for people in the community that request them and transitioned to a digital distribution that uses less paper and allows for people to access the information as soon as it’s posted to the website.
One of the key features of the new website will be the ability of residents to sign up for notifications about specific things that they would like to know about – the posting of agendas for specific meetings, or emergency notifications like road closures that are commonly shared through the site. By signing up, the system will automatically populate and send an email to everybody on the list rather than having Vargas have to type each email address individually whenever information is distributed.
“That’s going to be one of the most useful features because it eliminates the chance that an email gets forgotten or is mistyped – it will populate the list that has been submitted and send it all out automatically as soon as the information is uploaded,” Vargas said. “We also have the ability to classify specific information and focus it as well, and that will help in keeping people informed about what is going on.”
In order to achieve ADA compliance, the website couldn’t use certain fonts and had to maintain uniformity in the appearance of fonts while at the same time including text captions for every photo and video that is posted so that digital readers can describe what is being shown. The website is also now automatically switched over to a mobile display when accessed on a mobile device, making the site easier to navigate and easier to read.
For additional information, or to see the changes that Lathrop has made to its website, visit www.ci.lathrop.ca.us.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.