AAPS district website gets a redesign, better navigation tools for visitors

From AAPSNews Service

The Ann Arbor Public Schools has launched a new look and feel to the district website. Rolled out during last week’s winter break, the change includes updated navigation tools to better help the public find information.

The website address www.a2schools.org will remain the same, said AAPS Director of Communications Liz Margolis.

“Our website is a key tool for communicating with our families and the public,” Margolis said. “This change is designed to freshen the site and put important information at their fingertips.”

District Webmaster Ali Van Doren has worked on the updates throughout the first semester and into the new year. Although the site will be organized in a familiar way, she said, “the navigation will be different and it will be more user-friendly.”

The district’s website was last redesigned and updated in 2004.

New features on the site include a drop-down menu of “How Do I?” questions that will link visitors with the appropriate sections of the site. Van Doren researched the most widely requested searches on the website to determine the top 20 questions to be included. Some of those will include how to: enroll my child, comment at a board meeting, request a copy of transcripts or diploma, access PowerSchool, volunteer and reserve a facility, among others.

Navigation bars across the top of the site will have familiar topics. “About” incorporates information about specific departments, district data, strategic plan and district initiatives; “Calendar” features up-to-date scheduled event; and “Our Schools” will continue to include a directory of schools, maps, lunch menus and other key information as it has in the past. Other key drop-downs include “Academics,” which offers details by department; “Board” with key board of education links and information; “Employment” which lists current job postings, benefits and contracts; and “Contact Us,” which has a list of key department telephone numbers.

The navigation bar also includes Google Translate so that visitors may select a different language in which to view information.

On the main page is a live feed from the AAPSNews, the school district’s online newsletter, and a “Spotlight” section with timely information and general news items. Down the left side of the site, there will continue to be links “especially for” parents, students and staff to take visitors to pages specific to their needs.

The bottom features hot-linked logos for the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation, the district’s Rec & Ed Department, green programs and initiatives, Americans With Disabilities accessibility, service alerts and – new with the update – a link to district bid opportunities.

The district’s ongoing Exceptional campaign was incorporated into the design, which includes photos from AAPS schools and events.

Following the change, Van Doren will work with individual school webmasters to change school sites to a similar look by the end of the school year.

Anyone visiting the page who finds a broken link or other concern should direct an e-mail to Van Doren at: webmaster@aaps.k12.mi.us. Please note the page on which the link is broken.

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