Building a better website for the Port Authority

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
May 14, 2015 4:46 p.m.

Michael Arnold reported on his progress in building a new website for the Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA) during the OHPA meeting on May 13, 2015. Arnold indicated that his goal is to create a better experience for the user with clearer graphics, more information and a better communications system for community members who want to contact a port commissioner or request a public record. Arnold’s company—Michael Arnold Studios—has been contracted to develop the new site. Arnold is currently employed full-time as a Nassau County firefighter.

Developer Michael Arnold demonstrates new OHPA website features.
Developer Michael Arnold demonstrates new OHPA website features.

The URL for the new site will be called “myoceanhighwayandportauthority” and will replace the current site Arnold said that the site would be ready to go live in ten days.

Screen shot of current homepage and OHPA logo
Screen shot of current homepage and OHPA logo

Reaction from port commissioners to the new design was mixed. Commissioner Danny Fullwood said he preferred to see the site focus on the port, which is the activity most associated with the Port Authority. He also wanted to see a return to the former logo, which incorporated a lighthouse, a ship’s wheel and the 8 Flags. Other commissioners seemed content to accept the site’s focus on the Port Authority itself. Arnold said he was operating under the assumption that the OHPA wanted to focus on the work of their agency.

Joanna Cason, OHPA’s administrative officer reminded commissioners that the state had directed that each special district have a website explaining its mission, goals and activities available to the public by October 2015.

The parties agreed with a statement by Karen Shexnayder, Marketing Director for the Nassau County Economic Development Board (NCEDB) that the website will be useful to brand the port, just as the new NCEDB website will focus on branding Nassau County’s economic development opportunities, as opposed to the organization.

Chair Richard Bruce said that he believed that the developer has a good start on developing a better website for the Port Authority.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.