Image of a tablet, phone and computer with the new website in the background.

District 196 is unveiling a new website this fall that will offer visitors a more consistent and user-friendly experience across all school and buildings sites. The new design is part of the district’s long-term branding strategy of creating a more centralized and unified presence.

The first phase of the launch will begin in August and include six websites: District 196, Community Education, Woodland and Red Pine elementary schools, Valley Middle School of STEM and Eastview High School. All school and building sites will be on the new platform by August 2020.

The district’s website redesign committee — district communications and technology staff and school/program website managers — began meeting March to determine a new content management system (CMS). Following a two-month discovery period that included requests for proposals and demonstrations, the committee selected Finalsite as its new CMS. The committee pointed to the platform’s ease of use, wide array of capabilities and seamless integration with existing systems as main reasons for choosing Finalsite.

Feedback from the committee was used to create a dynamic and media-rich design that is mobile-friendly and ensures all content is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The design also provides a unified look across the district while allowing each site to maintain the integrity of their unique identities.

Redesign highlights include:

  • Consistent main navigation. Information will be easily accessible using the new main navigation scheme that is similar across all levels (elementary, middle and high). Families have their own section where they will find resources, quick links and important information. Athletics pages at the secondary level will be a hub for all MSHSL sports information. 
  • Easy access to calendar events. Stay up to date with all that is happening at your school and across the district using the interactive calendar on the front page. Subscribe to feeds, get alerts and never miss another District 196 event again! 
  • Additional language pages and options. Spanish- and Somali-speaking families will have access to human-translated documents using the new language feature at the top right. By clicking on the preferred language, they will find relevant news and information in their native language. A Google Translate option is also available for over 100 other languages. 
  • Mobile-friendly design. Over half of website visits are from users on mobile devices. To ensure the best experience, the website has a mobile-first design. All of our websites will be responsive to the device they are viewed on.
  • Predictive search capabilities. The intelligent search feature on our new website provides an autocomplete suggestion to help you find what you’re looking for faster. Similar to the search function on a search engine, the tool recognizes synonyms and common phrases to search the site.

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