- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) - Theresa Tucker combines her love of technology and art as she designs new websites, and that is what she has done for the city of Austin.

“I call myself a nerd,” but an artistic nerd, she said.

Last summer, the city contracted to pay her $8,500 to replace its present website. She won the contract competing against large companies throughout the state and even internationally, the Post-Bulletin (https://bit.ly/1zaxcVv ) reported.

The assistant administrator working with information technology at the Hormel Institute said the city’s existing site needs work. “It’s very unorganized and outdated,” she said. It’s “hard to find what you’re looking for.”

The plan was to have the site go live earlier, but it’s been pushed back to early to mid-December, said Tom Dankert, the city’s interim administrator. The city decided to delay the site’s launch in order to tweak it, he said.

“We’re trying to get as much information out there for the public,” but it also has to be easy to read and have a “warm, fuzzy” form that will make people want to read it, Dankert said.

That’s what Tucker has been trying to do for the past few months, using her combined skills in technology and art.

“I just always liked computers,” she said. But when growing up in Henning, she also loved drawing and art.

One of the goals of the new city website is to allow people to quickly find about 250 pages of information regarding everything from city permits to finding places and checking library hours.

Tucker wants the site to be fluid, allowing for a department to change its page and update things. If there’s a blizzard, flood or some other emergency, the city can use the website to give people real-time information about closed roads, where to go for help and other details. Those with smart phones will be able to access it, so she has made it possible for those people to get a different, easier-to-use version.

But the first thing she wants the website to do is look good. People thinking about coming to a new city often check the Web pages of the city or its convention and visitors bureau. It gives them a first impression, and Tucker wants that to be a warm, fuzzy feeling.

After showing off this week’s version, which will change by next week, Tucker said she’s satisfied so far with her work.

“I think it’s going to be good,” she said.

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Information from: Post-Bulletin, https://www.postbulletin.com

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