May 15, 2021

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New MRSC Website Improvements Make Information Even Easier to Find

May 3, 2021 
by 

Steve Hawley



Category: 


Here at MRSC we are always looking for ways to help local government staff and officials find trustworthy information as quickly as possible. With that in mind, we’ve recently made some improvements to our website to help you find information faster than ever. Here are some of the new and updated features that we hope you will find useful.


“On This Page” Menu


Perhaps the most noticeable change is on our topic pages — these are all of those Wikipedia-like pages within the Explore Topics section of our website. These pages contain a wealth of information, but to make it easier for you to see the contents of each page we have created new “On this Page” menus near the top of most pages. These menus automatically show you all of the main sections and subtopics on a page, and you can even click on a specific section to jump to that part of the page. (Technically this isn’t a new feature, but this menu was previously hidden by default and many of our users never knew about it.)


For instance, here is an image of the menu for our recently updated Overtime and Comp Time topic page.


OnThisPageMenu


If you don’t want to see this table of contents, just click “hide” to collapse it. And if you’re further down the page and you want to return to the table of contents, just click the green “back to top” button at the bottom of the screen.


Sample Document Library


We’ve also made it much easier to browse for sample documents. As of this writing, our Sample Document Library contains about 4,300 examples of policies, ordinances, contracts, job descriptions, and more, all of which were adopted by local governments in Washington State.


There are two ways to look for these documents: searching and browsing. The search feature was — and still is — a quick and powerful way to look for documents. But there are some situations where you might prefer to browse for documents and see all of the documents in a particular section of our library.


Previously, the browse feature displayed documents in alphabetical order by jurisdiction name, and there was no other way to sort them. But we have now updated the library so that it automatically displays documents in alphabetical order by document title instead.


For instance, if you were browsing for job descriptions previously, you would see all sample job descriptions from Aberdeen first, then Benton County, Camas, etc. But under the new system, you will see Accounting positions first, then various Building Officials, City Attorneys, etc., as the image below shows.


JobDescriptionSorting


We think this sorting system will be much more useful in most situations. But there may occasionally be times when you’re looking for documents from a specific jurisdiction or even recently adopted documents. If that’s the case, we’ve also provided the option to sort documents by jurisdiction name or by the year the document was adopted. All you have to do is click on “Date” or “Jurisdiction” in the blue table header.


Secure (HTTPS) Website


Lastly, we have made our website data more secure by converting to HTTPS. While our website does not handle commercial or private information such as usernames, passwords, or credit card numbers (our training registrations are handled through secure third-party websites), HTTPS is becoming the standard for most websites and will provide an extra level of data security and encryption as you search for information on our website.


You may have previously seen a message from your web browser saying that the MRSC website is “not secure,” but with the transition to HTTPS you shouldn’t see that message.


Social Media Sharing


We’ve also made it easier to share any of our articles and webpages through social media using the buttons near the top of the page. You can also connect with us on Facebook (@mrscwa), LinkedIn (MRSC), and Twitter (@MRSC_WA), as shown in the image below.


ShareThis


Give it a Try!


If you want to try out some of these recent improvements, here are a few ideas:


  • Search or browse the Explore Topics section of our website and try the “On this Page” feature. Find a topic, then try hiding and showing the “On this Page” menu. Click on a particular section, then click the “Back to top” button at the bottom of the screen. Examples of pages we’ve updated recently include Overtime and Comp Time, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources, Annual Financial Reporting, Techniques and Incentives for Encouraging Affordable Housing, Annexation Methods by Cities and Towns, and Language Access.
  • Try browsing our Sample Document Library. Examples of topics that are especially well-suited to alphabetical browsing include Job Descriptions, Policies and Procedures, and RFP/RFQ/Bid Documents.
  • Or, try browsing our Ordinances and Resolutions, then click on “Date” to see the ordinances and resolutions in our library that have been adopted most recently. (Quite a few of the recent ordinances pertain to COVID-19, for obvious reasons.)


I’m sure you can come up with many other ways to use this information. And as always, if there are other ways we can improve our website to better serve you, let us know!


MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

About Steve Hawley

Steve joined MRSC in July 2014 and is responsible for writing, editing, and conducting research for many of MRSC’s website resources, with a particular focus on local government finance, budgeting, ballot measures, and procurement. He has a broad communications and public policy background with over a decade of local government and nonprofit experience.

VIEW ALL POSTS BY Steve Hawley