Well here's a lofty goal from Oakland's City Hall:
We are excited to announce that we have started the process of overhauling the City's web site: www.oaklandnet.com. Our goal is to launch the best municipal web site in the country!
To that end, this month the City Administrator's Office and the Department of Information Technology are hosting four community meetings to gather input from the public about how to improve the current web site. Topics will include: accessing key information and documents, making on-line payments, adding new features, and more. Meeting participants and survey respondents will be entered in a drawing for a free iPod nano.
Those unable to attend one of the community meetings can provide their feedback by participating in a quick, on-line survey (visit www.oaklandnet.
com/survey). For more information, contact: (510) 444-CITY or webteam@oaklandnet. com.
LIST OF MEETINGS:
- Tuesday, November 13, 2007; 7 pm to 9 pm: Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue (Lake Merritt).
- Wednesday, November 14, 2007; 7 pm to 9 pm: César E. Chávez Branch Library, 3301 E. 12th Street, Suite 271 (in the Fruitvale Transit Village).
- Thursday, November 15, 2007; 7 pm to 9 pm: Leona Lodge, 4444 Mountain Boulevard.
- Saturday, November 17, 2007; 10 am to 12 pm: Eastmont Substation, 2651 73rd Avenue at Bancroft.
At first I thought, well, it doesn't have to be the best in the country ~ just make it so constituents can pay parking tickets on-line, and apply for permits, and even figure out when large development projects have been submitted for review ~ simple things like that. As it is now, even I, a City employee, can't find information buried in the Planning & Zoning section, and I am embarrassed by how primitive our page is for the Oil Independent Oakland (OIO) By 2020 Task Force, compared to Portland's flashy site (and by flashy, I mean they include "fancy" stuff like images and pull-down menus). All I do is submit the content for the OIO page; we have no tech support to make it more user-friendly or interactive, or even, say, well, pretty.
So I searched around on the inkernet, looking at other City web-sites, wondering what makes for a good municipal website -- and does "good" always mean useful? I mean, there are a lot of very tech-savvy people here in Oakland and I'm sure some of them/us, would love to see the City incorporate the latest web tools, such as podcasts, blogs, interactive maps, and whatever else all those fancy gadgets can do. Do our residents want that, though? Shouldn't we first make simple things available, such as paying parking tickets on-line, or even implementing a community-service program to pay off parking fines? I hope residents attend the Community Meetings and really tell us what they want.......