Columbiana working to make Clipper website user-friendly

COLUMBIANA — The Columbiana Clipper website may be going away in the future, with a brand new one taking its place.

Superintendent Don Mook said the district is negotiating with three different companies for website design and hosting.

If the district opts to have a professional website, it will need to pay yearly to keep the site up and running.

The district is currently responsible for hosting and design of its own website at no cost, but the site is not user-friendly, according to board of education member Scott Caron.

Caron recommended last month that the district look into a new, professionally designed website because he feels it is not easy to use.

Specifically, he said he is not pleased with the fact that it takes several “clicks” to get to certain information, and feels the pages are too busy.

“Simple is easy, and easy is simple,” he told the board on Tuesday.

Caron said pursuing a professionally designed website would be worth it in the long run as he believes a better website will attract more interest in the district from those not already enrolled.

He also said a professional website would have the ability to be recognized by Google, resulting in a larger audience reach.

Mook provided the board with a rundown of the three companies being considered, which are Blackboard, Schoolpointe and eSchoolView.

The estimated annual costs range from as low as $6,000 to as high as $15,400 based on capabilities included.

Blackboard estimates came in the highest, although it appeared to be favored most by school administrators, including Middle School Principal Jason Martin and High School Principal Dave Buzzard.

Martin said Blackboard appeared to be the most user-friendly.

Buzzard said that if the district wants a different website it should go with Blackboard or nothing at all, since he felt the other sites wouldn’t offer much of a difference compared to the current site.

Mook said all of the proposed sites are adaptive, meaning they are capable of being used on mobile devices or personal computers.

Martin pointed out that all of the information on the current website will not be transferred over to the new site, however.

Board member Mike Clark suggested the district reach out to parents to gather feedback on what they would like from a website.

Mook felt that was a good idea.