New Website Creates New Ways to Connect

Last summer, a team at Thames Valley began the task of reviewing the current Board website to determine if it met the needs of our stakeholders. The team spoke with parents, students, community partners and staff and asked them what they wanted to experience when they visited us online. The response was clear - we needed to change our online presence to better meet their needs of connecting to staff and the Board as a whole.

"It's said that one human year equals at least four Internet years. That's how fast technology is progressing, and unfortunately our website had not kept up," says Tania Testa, Communications Manager at Thames Valley.

This December, we launched our newly designed site. The new website which uses the same www.tvdsb.ca web address, is designed with parents and guardians particularly in mind. The fresh clean look, designed by web developer eSolutionsGroup, provides users with accessible content which is enhanced with photos of Thames Valley students and staff members.

"This change is really about our stakeholders. It's about parents, students and staff and creating a better online experience for every one of them," says Tania. "But at the same time, this website redesign has given us the opportunity to create a website that visually, truly speaks to the innovative, dynamic and vibrant school board that Thames Valley is."

The new homepage uses the latest web design elements to effectively bring users' attention to important updates. Remaining on the site is the popular Spotlight feature where the Board shares news on engaging learning experiences in schools. News releases have a prominent place on the new website, keeping stakeholders up to date on Board decisions, changes and key events and dates taking place throughout the school year. The homepage also allows quick access to popular topics such as Find my Local school, Report a Student Absence, and Transportation.

Since approximately 30 per cent of website visitors come from their mobile devices - cell phones and tablets - the team made sure that these users could also find what they are looking for with a fully responsive site.

"We are very proud of our new website and the amount of strategic and dedicated work that went into creating it," says Laura Elliott, Director of Education at Thames Valley. "Gathering public input prior to designing the site was very important in helping us provide an improved web experience. We thank the public for that input. Also, the opinion and feedback Board staff provided was instrumental in creating a website everyone can intuitively navigate."

Thames Valley's 159 schools will also receive a redesign in 2018 to their school websites to ensure they are mobile responsive and better serve local students, families and communities.

"We are ecstatic about this change across the school district," says Laura. "These new websites will boost our schools' ability to communicate and the ability of parents and students to stay connected."

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