City launches new site online

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

It’s catchy.

It’s innovative, cutting edge in its simplicity.

And best of all, it’s just one click – not three or four – away:

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The city’s new economic development web site went live early Thursday, just hours before it was unveiled to hundreds of Hampton Roads developers.

Thomas O’Grady, the city’s economic development director, shared the department’s new, user-friendly web page during a luncheon sponsored by the Hampton Roads Association of Commercial Real Estate Thursday. During the event at the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center, O’Grady and other city leaders promoted business development in the state’s fastest growing city.

The economic development department spent more than a year working with Tom Powell, president of The Addison Group, a local advertising agency, on the web site’s overhaul.

&uot;The key was to make the web page so simple that anyone surfing the net could operate it,&uot; said Powell. &uot;Now you don’t really have to search for it.&uot;

In the past, it took three or four clicks of the mouse for Internet surfers to land on the city’s economic development web page. Most people tapped into it through links on the city’s home page.

&uot;We’re saving people a few clicks,&uot; said O’Grady.

The department’s new catchy domain name makes it easier for users to access – and remember – its web site, he added.

Powell, a graphic designer, said he wanted the web page to reflect Suffolk’s growing high-tech business community.

&uot;From a graphic perspective, the old web site didn’t make Suffolk look like it was a growing city,&uot; said Powell. &uot;This new site makes is look like something is happening, it shows what’s really going on in the city.&uot;

The revamped site also puts critical information in a visible location at the top of the screen, Powell said. That’s important, when research shows that 60 percent of people don’t bother scrolling down to view data at the bottom of web pages, he added.

Hopefully, business prospects studying a move to Suffolk will take a hint from the web page’s domain name, Powell said.

&uot;It sends a positive message,&uot; Powell said. &uot;We want companies to type Yes Suffolk before they even commit to come here to look around.

&uot;…It’s all about branding our name,&uot; he said. &uot;We are saying we like what we are doing in Suffolk…and that were proud of it.&uot;

Revamping the department’s web site cost approximately $6,000, O’Grady said. Ideally, it should be updated every 24 months, he said.