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Last updated: May 06. 2014 12:10AM - 146 Views
By - acrowe@civitasmedia.com



Kristen Bowser, Dayton Area PRSA President (right), congratulates Fairborn Public Relations Specialist Katie Lewallen for receiving an Award of Merit for the redesign of the city website. Submitted photo
Kristen Bowser, Dayton Area PRSA President (right), congratulates Fairborn Public Relations Specialist Katie Lewallen for receiving an Award of Merit for the redesign of the city website. Submitted photo
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FAIRBORN — Several months of work on the City of Fairborn website has earned recognition from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).


On Friday, Fairborn Public Relations Specialist Katie Lewallen, member of PRSA, received an Award of Merit for the redesigned website, which launched in the summer of 2013.


The PRism Awards are given on a 100-point scale with 85-100 points earning a PRism Award and 74-84 points earning an Award of Merit.


“They look at the research that goes into whatever project you are submitting for, why you felt like it needed to be done, how it was implemented, how you shared what you did with the community, and how you evaluated the success of project,” Lewallen said.


The city’s PR specialist spent 40-50 hours a month for six months working on outlining the new site and partnering with Graphic Impact Communications in Kettering to design and implement the changes. According to Lewallen, this was the fifth time in nine years that the site had been redone.


“We had a website that had too many pages,” said Lewallen. “We needed to make it easier to find what residents were looking for. It needed a fresh look to make it appealing and we reorganized it to make logistical sense to the majority of users. We kept in mind what people wanted based on previous feedback, and tried to prioritize that.”


The new website includes all of the previous information and more in a consolidated format with more links and drop-down menus that are easier for users to navigate. It is broken up into several main sections to help users go directly to the information they need.


“The goal was that within two to three clicks you would be on the page that have what you need,” Lewallen said.


They not only consolidated the more than 300 previous pages on the website, but also changed the overall look with new fonts, colors and images. The city is also moving away from paper forms by adding more options to fill out forms online.


“Technology is not slowing down, and people are constantly needing information quickly. It’s just doing smart business to keep up with those demands,” Lewallen added.


She is currently in the process of developing a phone app as well.


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