BY BILL PHILLIPS
In website lingo, it’s responsive.
In other words, the new City of Prince George website, unlike the old one, plays well with smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.
After 18 months spent developing and building the city’s new website, the public will get to see it Tuesday morning.
“Staff has completely re-built the city website, creating a new navigational structure, updating and consolidating content on individual web pages, improving access to popular city services and presenting information about events,” said Rob van Adrichem, director of external relations.
He said the rebuild project is slightly ahead of schedule and on budget. The city budgeted $225,000. Of that amount, $125,000 went to a consultant, eSolutions Group.
“They did all the design, a lot of the project management, a lot of programming,” said van Adrichem. “Then the balance of the budget was around technologies, some content management tools … a lot of new tools that we purchased. The other main part of the budget was around training for staff.”
In addition to being ‘responsive’ there is also a new technical functionality facilitating access to bylaws, an upgraded news and notices section that allows residents to receive updates via e-mail, new eNewsletter functionality, a new system for filling out online forms, and links to various applications for listing career opportunities, registering for recreation programs, and accessing business information.
“We’ve actually reduced, by half, the number of pages on the site,” said van Adrichem. “But we haven’t, by any means, reduced the information. We’ve just consolidated it, organized it in a different way. Hopefully, the idea is to make it more intuitive.”
The new site will also have a calendar of public events.
Prior to the start of the re-design, fewer people were accessing the site, suggesting it did not meet expectations. eSolutions and city staff gathered public input from close to 200 residents through a survey, interviews and focus groups. Participants indicated that the old city website was cluttered and had lots of outdated and duplicated information, poor search functionality, confusing navigation, and didn’t work well on smartphones and tablets.
“We’ve really tried to make a website that’s informative and engaging,” said van Adrichem.