City of Oxnard, California

Homepage screenshot on desktop and mobile
City of Oxnard logo in color

Serving a Diverse Beachside California Community

Located on the California coast roughly an hour northwest of Los Angeles, the City of Oxnard is a vibrant destination with deep agricultural roots and a multicultural population. A city with expansive scenic landscapes and rated one of the most neighborly cities in the country, Oxnard is a favorite of filmmakers, visitors, businesses, and residents alike.


Oxnard wall mural

Centering Users with a Streamlined Structure & Redesign

Given its diverse audience that included a majority Hispanic-identifying population, creating a website that was accessible regardless of a user’s native language was critical for its success. The City of Oxnard envisioned a new WordPress website that would allow users of all backgrounds to easily navigate to the information, updates, and tools that they need. This would require a thorough restructuring of the existing site’s content informed by site analytics, stakeholder guidance, and user input.

We first employed significant quantitative and qualitative analyses—which included in-person workshops with user groups ranging from senior citizens to librarians, tourism boards, local business owners, and more—along with an in-depth content inventory to clearly identify existing content and user flows. This research informed information architecture and design decisions, allowing us to craft a vibrant yet highly functional site featuring vivid colors and photos with nods to the city’s landscape paired with iconography suitable for a diverse audience.

City of Oxnard Site Redesign Workshop attendees and dot boards

Task-Focused Navigation

Like many municipalities, the City of Oxnard organized its previous website around internal department structures rather than actual user tasks. This meant that a common task, such as applying for affordable housing, paying a utility bill, checking a permit status, or finding a recreation program, was often impossible to find by both internal and external audiences, especially those with a language barrier.

To inform its decisions and drive a new content strategy, we reviewed user and census analytics, as well as conducting virtual stakeholder workshops and in-person user workshops. Leveraging this input, we learned how content was being engaged with, what was important to various audience types, and how outside users would expect to find that content.

We devised an intuitive navigation based around user tasks that allowed users to navigate across departments’ categories of pages. To guide this major content restructuring, Aten provided a thorough content map for content editors to clarify where the existing content fits into the new site and how to categorize content in the future.

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Screenshot of site homepage, library page, homeless resources

A Fresh, Sunny Redesign

The City of Oxnard ambitiously pursued creative direction reflecting the municipality’s richness and beauty while offering a “less is more” look and feel. Stakeholders also sought to elevate the site’s functional requirements to communicate inclusively and effectively with all community members, including those for which English is a second language.

We employed striking colors found in Oxnard’s logo along with stunning photography of the city to craft an authentic and accessible website that surpasses the oft-uninspired offerings of other municipalities. We selected clean, readable typography and illustration iconography to effectively communicate with non-English speakers, based on previous user data findings.

Montage of site components

WordPress Platform Leveled Up

Due to staff familiarity, stakeholders preferred a WordPress framework and opted to move site hosting from internal servers to Pantheon, improving page load speed. We synthesized a complex system of plug-ins from an external portal that were used to manage city permits into one form plug-in that lives on the Oxnard site, and built the site from a mobile-first approach, so there’s full responsiveness across all device sizes.

Our developers employed WordPress FSE (Full Site Editing) to create custom blocks and pre-designed page templates to make content editing easy for even non-technical editors, but still maintained the site’s design system.

Screenshot of News Releases page on mobile

Is your municipality's website serving your community member's needs? Aten can help to connect your services with your users in an intuitive way.

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