Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Documents Cut Drastically with City's New Website


City Council never discussed the fate of the treasure trove of online documents when Council approved a new website design in April 2012. The item returned to council in December that same year without directly addressing online documents.



One slide shows the vendor charge for migrating 50 webpages, but there is no information on the size of the city's former website and how many pages and/or documents city administrators planned to migrate.

City Council approved a new look and added functionality.  I did not hear any discussion about slashing the website's rich list of resources, but that's what happened.

The city's intent in this regard remains to be seen, but citizens got a clue from Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson's presentation to Council last week. He illuminated four goals:

1.  Navigation or User Friendliness -- 

"Our previous site had a wealth of information but sometimes it took five and six clicks to get to that information, if you could even find it."

2.  Informative -- 

"Again, the predecessor of this website had a wealth of information.  I would almost say it was an avalanche of information that tended to overwhelm the users.  And so we worked with department managers and directors to ensure we have just the right amount of information here, so that, as I told our planners, our engineers, and our storm water people the citizen doesn't need to know everything that you need to know about your area of expertise.  So we tried to provide information that people want and need without overwhelming them with information.  And again, there's plenty of places to get contact information if you're wanting to ask more questions about that.  Again, the contacts on this site are very easy to find.

3.  Interactive -- 

"We want to conduct more city business online."

4.  Aesthetically pleasing -- 

"We want this site to be a good first impression to those thinking about moving to San Angelo, relocating their business here, coming and touring here."

How much of the information formerly housed on the website will return?

"We're slowly building our archives again."
Time will tell.

Update 2-28-14:  Anyone wanting to research City of San Angelo issues will need to consider what information is stored where.  The city issued a press release that it will no longer use Slideshare to make background packets and presentations available to the public.   Over the years I noted a number of council presentations that were never posted to Slideshare.   Slideshare will continue to house city documents from March 1, 2011, to Jan. 7, 2014, but no new ones will be added.  Also, the past practice of having the Council agenda packet available online the Friday before was not fulfilled for the March 4 meeting.

Update 3-8-15:  The City celebrated the one year anniversary of its new website.   It makes a great first impression, which is the intent.  It is not the rich repository of historical information the former website provided.

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