ORIGINAL 10:33 AM REPORT: The mayor and city tech boss Bill Schrier (a West Seattleite) have just started a briefing on the new look of seattle.gov –
you can watch live above. Notes as we go. Key points: This is the result of a usability study; it streamlines “the interface to five portals instead of nine.” The search feature is stronger, Schrier explains. Also, the right-side links to elected officials, on the home page’s right side, will include their Facebook and Twitter links. There’s a dropdown toward the middle of the page to get you to the relatively new “My Neighborhood” maps, which include layers for 911 calls (not all “live” – there’s a few hours’ lag for police reports) and police reports.
(10:44 am) The mayor is noting that the new look does NOT run throughout all seattle.gov pages yet. Schrier says Knowledge As Power is the firm that has conducted a usability study that helped pave the way for some of the changes they made. He also notes there are 100,000 pages on the city website at the moment so “it will take a long time for us to circulate through (all the pages) to upgrade its look and feel.” The mayor says ask.seattle.gov will be launched in the future for people to post questions – and he says his office will monitor and forward questions to appropriate departments. He says he intends the web to be used more for engagement than to just “push information out to people.”
(10:49 am) Questions/answers now. We asked about personalization. Not yet, but my.seattle.gov is still in the works. Another question: Mobile “light” version of the site? Answer: Not yet. Question: Cost of this redesign? Answer: Less than $5,000 in outside resources (Knowledge As Power says their usability study cost the city less than $1K – their report’s been published online, reps from KAP just said).
(11:01 am) The mayoral media availability has now moved on to other Q/A which so far have included Fire Department staffing, the Viaduct questionnaire to be discussed by WSDOT this afternoon, and two City Council bills the mayor opposed.
(11:28 am) The briefing’s now completely concluded. When the video we streamed live earlier is available in archive, we’ll bring back the link. In the meantime, we had a few post-briefing chats: One reason the redesign didn’t include mobile is the cost, Schrier says – they’d made a budget request but it would have been more than $150,000.