LANARK IL – Blackhawk Hills Regional Council hosted a Website Assistance Workshop in Lanark on October 4. This was the first of two workshops required for those who received $2,000 Website Assistance Program grants from Blackhawk Hills. It was also open for others to attend. The presentation was delivered by Melanie Flesch who is the Assistant Outreach Coordinator for Blackhawk Hills. In attendance were webmasters and representatives for municipalities, county government, tourism bureaus, and other nonprofit organizations from all over the six counties that make up the Blackhawk Hills region.
The first workshop covered preliminary website development basics such as general layout, navigation, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, Illinois Policy Institute recommendations, and FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requirements. The information is geared toward local government but may be helpful for any type of informational sites.
When planning the content, layout, colors, and general appearance of a website, you must take into account who the intended audience is for your website. Easy to find, follow, and use navigation is of the utmost importance. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to view the internet.
Making your website ADA compliant is not required by law. Illinois Policy Institute is not required by law either. However, they are good guidelines to follow to make your site accessible and comprehensive. FOIA compliancy, on the other hand, is required for local government websites. For example, if your body of government has a website, meeting agendas follow the same 48 hour advanced notice and meeting minutes must be posted on your site within 10 days of approval.
Melanie has been authorized by the Blackhawk Hills council to offer free website consultation to nonprofit organizations and government bodies within the region. She will also be presenting the second part of the workshop in March of 2013. Topics to be covered will include updating and maintaining your website. If you are interested in attending the second session of the workshop or would like information about the consulting service contact Blackhawk Hills at 815-625-3854 or visit their website at http://blackhawkhills.com.