The website for Perry County, TN, is a relatively new implementation developed by a friend of mine who also works in the Joomla environment, Pat Vandenbosh. She labels herself as a designer, and I know she had extensive training in software development and graphics design. I like her work, but I'll still give a fair review to her work. 

My perceptions of the major requirements for a county website:

  1. Directory. It is designed primarily as a information device for local citizens. Primarily, it contains a directory of the people and services they need. Both the old and new websites provide a directory of personnel and offices.
  2. News: It should be a source of news about local events where county government is involved.
  3. Calendar: It should have a calendar of events including meetings.
  4. Documents: It should provide key documents that describe county policies and records of important meetings.
  5. Other Information. It should provide important information to businesses and people that want to move here, build here, or visit here.

Directory

The home page menu shows options for elected officials and government departments. Drop-down lists provide quick, one-click links to any office. The pages for each official show a complete list of all the available services. It's a well-designed layout. For the county commissioners, the page even provides links to other government offices and to the minutes of the commission meetings. 

News and Calendar

For information of immediate importance, it shows directly on the home landing page. The home page menu provides a clear link to news including a calendar, videos, and covid information. While the page structure is complete, there's not a lot of information other than covid information.

Documents

Links to pertinent documents from the county departments and other officials are contained within the pages for each official or office.

Other Information

In clear view, the home page provides icons and links to other governmental offices and the Chamber of Commerce. It also provides needed information for the location, telephone numbers, hours of service, and a search function. The page also contains a menu link for people making online payments for taxes as well as an accessibility menu for those incapable of using a mouse or other device for navigating the website. Finally, the site provides links to social media pages for the county.

My grade for the website: B. 

  • Directory: A. So fast and easy to use.
  • News: B+. Although it has a dedicated menu and place for posting information, the news portion is scant.
  • Calendar: A. The calendar app is pretty standard for Joomla. The individual events link to pages that provide more complete location maps and other information. That's an uncommon, extra step.
  • Documents: A. Documents related to each official or department are immediately available on the page for that function.
  • Other Information: A. The website provides additional information about the county and provides links to other websites that are closely related.
  • Overall appearance: A+. It has very attractive photographs and a pleasing layout.
  • Performance. D. The site needs tuning to significantly improve its performance.

One Criticism

The website could use some performance tuning. Pingdom rates the site speed with grade D. Other testing services provide similar grades. The page size is too large, it makes too many requests from the server, and there are other easily managed performance enhancements available.