Thursday, September 15, 2011

City of WL's "revamped" website (Updated)

Earlier today - the City of Williams Lake went "live" with their revamped website which you can view at

While I believe the revamped website is a considerable improvement over its' predecessor and I'm very pleased that the City is finally on Twitter (City of Quesnel is not on Twitter/Facebook yet, but hopefully they'll do so soon)

The City of WL's "revamped" website has some flaws, in my opinion, that I'd like to see corrected over time:

a) Most websites (municipal) have a introductory message from the Mayor and this website should have one
b) The website should have "direct" links to Council, Committee of the Whole and Joint Committee Agendas, instead of making you "navigate" through the "CivicWeb" site.  Either that or find some other model that makes digging through the City's Agenda System more user-friendly, including its' search function
c) Under "I Want to...Report a Problem" - there should be an option to complement City Staff and/or City Council on various initiatives or to recognize Staff for something they did for the public or.....
d) It seems, while Twitter was "road tested" and is live/working (City's Twitter address is @CityWL), the City's new Facebook is not "live" and one would think the City would ensure everything is working smoothly before it went "live" including going through beta testing stage(s) before taking it online for the public's perusal
e) Instead of allowing users to submit videos - the City should pull this option down in favour of the City publishing "YouTube" videos showing various public work initiatives or even why the City is doing what it doing (ie: why the need for a particular regulatory bylaw - Traffic Control, etc).  This is similiar to what Prince George is doing

Overall - I would grade the website as a "B+" however if the suggested changes above were to be implemented -  then I would change that to a "A+"

Finally - I believe that Williams Lake City Council should have taken the "website revamp" project, via a competition bid process, to ensure maximum value for the taxpayers'.  While I have no beef with the current website provider, Interactive Broadcast Corporation (Disclosure Note - my Uncle, Alan Forseth, works for this company), I think it would have been a good exercise for taxpayers' to take a project of this nature to a competitive style bid to ensure that Interactive Broadcast Corp is giving Williams Lake taxpayers' the very best value for our tax dollar and as one taxpayer, I'm disappointed that this was not considered by Staff and not brought up by any member of WL City Council


Update at 12:11pm Friday, Sept 16th - After I sent an email to the administrator for the City of WL's website, the following changes have been made:

1) Facebook button now works
2) There are direct links to the Council, Committee of the Whole Council and Public Hearings Agendas - well done!!
3) Welcome Message from the Mayor of Williams Lake now visible

I'm still disappointed that  there is no box of upcoming Council/Committee of the Whole Meeting on the Main website.  And there's room to do it - for example, remove the link for "Access Williams Lake" and put "Upcoming Council Meeting Schedule" there instead

All in all - the website is much more improved then yesterday :)

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