PBL eyes March 1 launch for revamped district website

PAXTON — After launching a Facebook page and Twitter account last Friday, the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district is now getting ready to introduce a revamped district website.

A March 1 launch is expected for the rebranded www.pblunit10.com, said Dustin Franckey, the district’s technology co-director.

Franckey said he has been working with a website-design company for about a month on the new site. In that time, he has “narrowed down” the options to one design template, he said. Now, Franckey is in the process of “mapping our current website to this new one.”

Franckey showed the school board last week what the revamped site would look like. Calling it “kind of edgy,” he said its design would be formatted to fit any kind of screen — that of a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

“We have an enormous amount of mobile traffic to (the existing site),” Franckey noted. “So, when it scales down for a mobile device, it’s going to be a lot smoother than our current setup.”

Franckey said all of the same information currently on the existing site would be put on the new one, so it should not be difficult for people to find the information they are used to seeing.

“You’ll be able to roll out all the information we currently roll out — with our days of the week, what’s happening, recent news, a scores area, special announcements,” he said. “It’s still only going to be two or three clicks to get exactly to where you want.”

PBL Junior High School technology teacher Rob Pacey said that, “essentially, we’re just transferring over the links and pages we currently have. We just need to map that out.”

Board member Shawn Young of Paxton said it is a “tremendous idea” to keep the site consistent to what people are used to. Young noted that “probably the biggest complaint” the district could have about the new site is that “it’s not the same.”

“Usability is definitely a top priority,” Pacey responded. “We’re looking at 60 to 70 percent of all of our (website) traffic being on a mobile device, so not having the scaling issue (will help). If you go from your home desktop computer to a laptop to a phone, for it to be able to look the same and have the same layout is crucial for us.”

As for the district’s newly created Facebook page and Twitter account, there will be strict usage policies in place.

“It’s going to be closed down for comments and picture tagging and what not so we would have to approve it,” Franckey said of the Facebook page. “We’ve got a long list of certain words that aren’t allowed on there. The language filter is strong so that we can make sure that nothing sneaks by us.

“On the Twitter side, this will be used to announce school closings, things with Panthers Building Legacy, as well, and highlight student accomplishments. This, again, is locked down and unable to be tagged or retweeted in a negative manner without us knowing beforehand.”

“Looks good,” Young said. 
 

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