By Tony Potter
Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator
A great first impression goes a long way. In today’s day and age, a website is a business’s first chance to build its customer base.
Arrowhead is in the process of developing and designing its first new website in several years. The update will provide the website with a fresh, modern feel while making it user-friendly. It’s expected to be launched in late fall to early winter.
Recent feedback that Arrowhead staff has received from visitors of the current arrowheadtransit.com is that it’s blocky, outdated and difficult to navigate. During the past several months, strong efforts have been made to remedy all of those issues.
The improvements of the new website begin with a home page that will feature four drop-down menus and several tiles to easily navigate through the website. An updated feature of that page will be an identifiable breaking news banner located at the top of the page. This will be used to inform riders of route changes and other important information. There will also be a variety of helpful links at the bottom of the home page.
Potential and current riders will be able to learn more about the history, mission and goals of Arrowhead on the newly incorporated about us page. The contact page will be revamped to include a contact form, as well as clickable links to make a phone call or send an email. The email link will be available to all users while the phone call feature is only available when using a smartphone.
The employment opportunities landing page will list all jobs with an “apply now” button that redirects to the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency’s (AEOA) career opportunities website. There will also be a contact form for potential applicants seeking more info regarding job openings.
Both the county schedules menu and landing page will feature links to all eight counties currently served by Arrowhead. Each link will bring users to a landing page for that specific county, including its respective route info and printable brochures.
Information about Arrowhead’s services, which include Dial-A-Ride, Scheduled Rides and the Volunteer Driving Program, may be accessed from the services tab located at the top right of the homepage. That tab will redirect users to a landing page listing three tiles, one for each service. To learn more about a specific service, simply click on the appropriate tile to be brought to a landing page featuring details about that service.
The biggest upgrade perhaps will be that of the maps. Accessible by the “route maps” button on the homepage, an interactive map of Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region will appear. The map will have markers identifying each city and/or county served by Arrowhead. When a user clicks on a particular service area, the map will zoom in to highlight what routes are available in that area. It will also include a listing of all route times and bus fares. This differs immensely from the current website where route maps are only available by opening PDFs of the brochures.
Adding a modern feel to the website is important to Arrowhead. A news feed from Arrowhead Transit’s Facebook page will be showcased on various pages throughout the website. An entirely new feature to the website will be the addition of a YouTube widget to showcase the bus company’s recent commercials and other informational videos.
To further make the website user-friendly, it will be both Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and have a language translator.
More features may be added to the website before it’s launched. The website modernization team continues to monitor and review the development of the new website to ensure it provides all the necessary information to current and potential riders.
Look for the new website to launch in late 2020. An announcement will be made on Arrowhead’s social media pages prior to the launch.