Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Krise-O-Meter

Make city website more friendly

"As mayor, I will revamp StPete.org so that it’s user-friendly, highly interactive, and reflective of our community. The budget, in particular, should be easy to view and navigate."


Updates

City website springs into 2015 with dramatic makeover

Rick Kriseman came into office promising to revamp the city's website -- not just a facelift, mind you, but a full-blown overhaul.

The city's marketing staff has delivered, unveiling a brand-new StPete.org at the end of March 2015.

The new site, redesigned by Big Sea Design on Central Avenue, features an all-new look far removed from the old links and frames of the city's prior online home. Billed as being "beautiful like our city" in promotional materials, the site has sections for city services, businesses, things to do and more.

One of the new features is the OpenGov section, an online portal that allows residents to examine the city's budget and other fiscal data. There's also a new way to report a problem or make a suggestion through the SeeClickFix app. The site now emphasizes interacting with the city's social media accounts and highlights city initiatives, such as the current debate about the downtown pier.

Kriseman communications director Ben Kirby said the redesign, which cost about $75,000, is being paid for by money from the city's technology fund. The full expense hasn't been calculated yet, in part because workers had to put in overtime for the site's launch and the figures hadn't been finalized.

"All of this was designed to not only create a much better user experience for those visiting www.StPete.org, but to also provide easily navigable ways to data and city services," Kirby told us. He said features would be augmented as time went on.

We rate this a Promise Kept.

Sources:

St.Pete.org, accessed April 1, 2015

Interview with Benjamin Kirby, mayor's communications director, April 1-2, 2015

Minor changes now, complete redesign later

Ask anyone who's ever used the City of St. Petersburg's website, and the words "easy to use" don't necessarily come to mind. Rick Kriseman promised to change that.

While campaigning, Kriseman said he would make StPete.org "user-friendly, highly interactive, and reflective of our community." He also vowed to make the city's budget easy to review.

A quick look at the site five months into Kriseman's term shows more features, to be sure. There are quick-navigation bars for hurricane season, the city's Pier, the Greenlight Pinellas mass transit initiative, the downtown waterfront master plan and parks and recreation. These all have updated information, the city said.

Communications director Benjamin Kirby said the website was still a work in progress, but pointed to the Council Agenda page as an example of a recent update. Clicking on day and meeting links will bring up PDFs showing agenda items with back-up material on subjects.

Kirby also said Kriseman has discussed a complete redesign of the website with the city's marketing team. He said the tentative goal is to have a new site available sometime in 2015.

We rate this promise In The Works.

Sources:

Tampa Bay Times, "St. Petersburg swears in Mayor Rick Kriseman with showy outdoor ceremony," Jan. 2, 2014

Tampa Bay Times, "St. Pete mayor's transition team puts more docs online," Jan. 7, 2014

Tampa Bay Times, "Editorial: Kriseman promises, now must deliver," April 30, 2014

Interview with Benjamin Kirby, mayor's communications director, May 30 and June 2, 2014