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Seven things you won’t believe about the city’s new website

Maybe it’s just the cost of doing business, which I’m sure the folks at city hall will say, but $124,300 to revamp the city’s website does seem excessive.

On top of that, it will take 18 months to do the work. I suppose it’s tough to command $124K if you can get the work done in a couple of months.

WblockPart of the project involves undertaking a series of feedback sessions, focus groups, and interviews with “stakeholders.” I’m all for public input, but do we really need to hold a series of public meetings to tell eSolutions, the company doing the work, what everyone else already knows? That is that the city’s website isn’t all that user-friendly.

Plus, eSolutions has experience with 250 municipalities across Canada. They might be able to tell us a thing or two about what should be on the website.

There is no doubt that the city needs a website, and a good one. The current one, which went through a bit of revamp a couple of years ago, could definitely be improved. But $124,300 worth? Still struggling with that one.

Granted, it’s not a small job. In addition to a new design, the data on the current site will have to be transferred to the new one. For the city’s website, the number of individual files to transfer would be easily be in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, or more. It’s a big task, there’s no doubt about that.

Plus the city is looking at offering more on its website than it does now, and make it “responsive,” meaning it will work well on smartphones and tablets. The kicker there is very few websites being built now aren’t responsive, so that the new site is responsive, should be a given.

I don’t have any problem with the city changing its website. The new site should be easy to navigate and provide the citizens of Prince George with information they need to interact with the city. My fear is that, for $124,300, we’re going get lots of frills and splashy ‘cool’ things that we see on websites all over the place. We don’t need that.

We need the city site to be about providing information in an easy to navigate format. What we don’t need is bells and whistles and a site that lights up like a $5 slot machine. It may be boring, but the site needs functionality. I just hope the focus groups don’t get caught up in all the visuals when data should be the driver.

And, did I mention that $124,300 seems pretty expensive?

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