Harwich To Unveil Newly Redesigned Webpage

by William F. Galvin
Information Technology Director Sarah Eaton works on crafting the town's new website. WILLIAM F. GALVIN PHOTO Information Technology Director Sarah Eaton works on crafting the town's new website. WILLIAM F. GALVIN PHOTO

HARWICH – The town’s website is getting a makeover.

“Overall, it will have a more modern look and feel to it,” said Information Technology Director Sarah Eaton. “It will be customizable for different departments, and a lot more user friendly.”

Eaton said information will be more easily disseminated with the new design. The home page will have a “Spotlight on Harwich” feature that will highlight important things going on in town, such as information on water, town meeting, and other essential notifications. The search bar will be more responsive, she said.

“[Town Administrator Joseph Powers’ vision and goal is to get the town on one system and have all the information relative to different departments easily accessible,” Eaton said.

In 2023, town meeting approved $48,000 for the upgrade of the website. She has been working on the new design with CivicPlus, the company that oversees the present website.

The new website will go live on Friday, June 21 at 1:30 p.m. During the switch, most users should see an automation change to the new website, Eaton said in an email. However, it may take up to an hour after the switch for the new design to show up as the redirect goes through various service providers. The new website will still use www.harwich-ma.gov as its internet address.

Among the additions, Eaton said, are screen readers that will read pages for the visually impaired. The site will also be more mobile phone friendly and easier to navigate. She said information on the town’s public meeting notification page will be one click away at the “Agendas & Minutes” icon on the home page. The home page has a series of icons to obtain information on “online bill paying, permits, agendas and minutes, bids and RFPs, and employment,” she said.

It will be much easier for businesses seeking information on permits and licensing. Information related to community resources, such as Cranberry Valley Golf Course and the community center, and accessing government, boards, committees and departments will be a simple process, according to Eaton.

There will be alerts for items of importance to the community, and there is the capability to produce newsletters, she said. The system provides easy access to articles, reports and studies and it will provide automatic updates to documents. On the back end, Eaton said, tags will be created to provide information on beach stickers, planned closings for holidays and other such information.

“We will customize it as we go along and as people use it,” she said.

For some of the features, people will have to subscribe to the new website and will also have to sign up for specific notifications.

“It’s a fresh new look and a modern website, “ said Eaton.