N.C. Court website redesign project launched

By Terri Flagg - [email protected]

The North Carolina court system website will be redesigned to provide a more modern experience and better meet user needs, according to a recent statement announcing the project launch.

The website, NCcourts.org, provides access to information for citizens going to court and allows some online transactions for court business.

Adding a greater level of judicial transparency is among the stated goals of the project.

“It is important that citizens understand the role and importance of courts in their communities,” said Sharon Gladwell, communications director for the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. “A website that provides greater access to courts and court information is a modern day expectation that can be addressed through technology available to us.”

Other goals include catching up with the times.

“At the outset, we expect the new site to be dynamic, provide a content management system and be responsive on mobile devises,” stated Justice Barbara Jackson, head of the technology committee of the N.C. Administration of Law and Justice who will sponsor the website.

The first phase of the project involves gathering input from users through an online survey, which will be available for two to three months.

A window offering the survey will popup on visitors to the existing website after a few minutes of use or can be found at survey.nccourts.org.

“We are very excited to see what judicial stakeholders would like to have in a new site, then build in that direction as best we can with the resources available,” Gladwell said.

Some upgrades needed to the website are due to its age.

“The current site is 14 years old and technology has drastically changed,” Gladwell explained. The website is not mobile/tablet friendly and doesn’t meet current ADA accessibility standards.

Many functions are simply not user-friendly.

“The site was built around how the judicial branch is organized and structured rather than around users of the site, the information they need, and how they find and access that information,” she said. “The new site will be user-centric.”

The project will be staffed by the NCAOC communications office and the redesign work performed by contractors.

Funding for the redesign comes from the judicial branch’s operations budget, which makes up about 8 percent of the branch’s overall allocation from state funds.

“The judicial branch receives only 2.23 percent of the overall state budget,” Gladwell said. “More than 54 percent of the judicial branch’s appropriation is equivalent to revenues collected by the courts through imposed fines and fees that are deposited into the state general fund.”

A completion date has not been set for the project.

“We do expect that at least a year will be needed to build and launch a new site,” said Sharon Gladwell, communications director for the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC). “We realize that number of online services might be expected that will require policy and process changes. This type of work perhaps might take longer to develop, thus would be added to the new site when ready.”

By Terri Flagg

[email protected]

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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