N.C. revamps Commerce site

The North Carolina Department of Commerce has revamped its World Wide Web site, creating a new Web portal to better organize information.

The ultimate goal, stated in the Commerce Online 2000 initiative, is to have all "significant activities Web-enabled," said Lisa Aycock, the department's assistant secretary for administration. Ayock said about one-third of the site is finished.

The department brought in Keane Inc., Boston, to redesign the home page to make it easier for users to find the information they need. Instead of having links to various departments, the portal separates links into categories based on users' interests.

"For example," Aycock said, "users don't care how the department processes their requests, they want to find the tourism site and tourism information." The five portals are business, vacation, entertainment industries, communities and employment.

The site is similar to the state's new Web portal, "NC @ Your Service," which offers portals to businesses, citizens and employees.

Aycock said the size of the Commerce project, which entails pulling together information from 18 sites and presenting it in a consistent design, is why it will take a year to complete.

The site also boasts new features, including county profiles, a commerce calendar, electronic conference registration, online stores and small-business information. It was also designed so nontechnical workers can update the site.

Keane developed a business search function for the department last year. North Carolina SiteSearch allows users to search more than 2,000 industrial buildings in the state for certain attributes, such as square footage and location.

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