Help key West build a better City website...please!
December 19, 2009 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Do you live somewhere interesting that has a great city government website?


It's been a year and and half since this question was similarly posed, and here is my interest: I am partners at a high-gloss web-media design company, and subsequent to my run for mayor of Key West this year much of my time is dedicated to city government and related. Much of the related is web-related.

What I am looking for are examples of city government websites for cities similarly as unique and interesting as Key West, city government sites which present information and resources in ways that combine looking good with accessibility.

Here in Key West, as a semi-trendy travel destination, the island is already well-represented by travel sites and sites focused on "things to do". This is the City of Key West's present website. Our site was constructed by a design operation specializing in government websites, egovstrategies. While it is supposedly adequate, it is less than especially terrific, and far from engaging. After all. this is Key West!

What I am looking for is is a city government website which depicts quality accessible government in a smart and engaging manner. With all this in mind, I call upon the sensible (and aethetically sophisticated) input far-reaching and all-seeing Hivemind: Examples of great websites for other interesting cities?
posted by Mike Mongo to Law & Government (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The design's sort of dated, but the Cambridge, MA city website is pretty damn useful.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:05 PM on December 19, 2009

Auckland city council is pretty good, I can pay my parking tickets and rates, see all of the city bylaws (and submit an opinon on new ones), submit official information requests etc etc.

Auckland regional council is also quite cool, they have heaps of info, and a web GIS with all the layers you could ever want.
posted by scodger at 1:24 PM on December 19, 2009

removed all your personal links Mike Mongo, please don't add superfluous possibly-SEO benefiting links into a question that doesn't need them
posted by mathowie at 1:41 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Brisbane City Council has a very user-friendly and comprehensive website. It also supports a second website, Our Brisbane which facilitates enjoyment of the city.
posted by Kerasia at 1:58 PM on December 19, 2009

I was also going to link the Auckland City Council website because I've found it damn useful for many things on several occasions (events information, finding out about upcoming city works, info on city bylaws, etc), but with one proviso. After the last election the new council has let the website really slide and it's no longer up to date in many places. Parts of it are still good as is and (a few) other parts are still being updated but the decline is noticeable and as time goes on it's going to get worse and become useless, which is very sad and irksome. Really I'd prefer an ugly, badly laid out website with current information and people on the other side replying to comments and enquiries than one that's neglected, so don't forget to think about that part.
posted by shelleycat at 2:01 PM on December 19, 2009

I recently moved to Seattle and I found to be a horrible experience. I could certainly live without the design, but mainly the problems are that it's incredibly frustrating to find anything.

It sounds like you are thinking of the Key West website as a marketing channel for the city. This is a wild guess of course, but the majority of the visitors to the website probably aren't coming to the website. The major problem with most of these city websites are designed to meet the needs of the individuals and departments inside the organization, not for the people they are supposed to serve.

I love great design, but first and foremost, it should serve the needs of the users.
posted by AlsoMike at 2:18 PM on December 19, 2009

I've found the Arlington, VA site to be useful.
posted by gudrun at 2:24 PM on December 19, 2009

removed all your personal links Mike Mongo, please don't add superfluous possibly-SEO benefiting links into a question that doesn't need them

[Thanks, Mathowie. I gave it thought whether superfluous before before posting, and went with elaboration as the coding of mefi is unique and marvelous and I project weird things on to Mefi's nature, sort of like there is some sort of meta-internet force field built into the site's dna that keeps everything search engine sterile and makes everything pan out. Word.]

posted by Mike Mongo at 2:30 PM on December 19, 2009 is fairly useful. For New York City, natch.
posted by dfriedman at 2:57 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

The City of Scottsdale's site is pretty good. Scottsdale, like Key West, is largely a resort town, and I think its website is fairly useful for both visitors and residents.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:51 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

That Scottsdale site is genuinely exceptional, fuse theorem.

I can:
-pay bills online
-review past city council meetings
-pay tickets online
-review past city council agendas
-see what projects are going on in my neighborhood
-find out about upcoming events
-file permits and applications
-job hunt/apply for jobs
-learn about attractions
-view bus routes
-explore bike routes
-review ordinances
-contact anyone

And all this is what I think to be intuitive and aesthetically pleasing AND complimentary to how I imagine Scottsdale to be. Wow! Thanks, ft. This is EXACTLY what I had in mind.

The Scottsdale city website is a city government site where the technology works, it is a site that is appealing, and as a site that must serve as well as represent its community I can see this website as being eminently functional to the citizens of Scottsdale. It is a definite winner.
posted by Mike Mongo at 11:06 AM on December 22, 2009

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