By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Hamilton residents will finally get to click on the city’s proposed new website starting next month.
City staff will be releasing a preview website that will highlight Hamilton’s new image that will help residents navigate for information in a more streamlined manner.
Jay Adams, the project leader on the web redevelopment initiative, said one of the main concerns of the new website is to make it easier for people to locate items.
“They have told us how hard it is to find things,” he said.
Over the years politicians, including Dundas councillor Russ Powers, and city staff have acknowledged the city’s website, cobbled together over the years since amalgamation, has frustrated residents and politicians alike. Powers has called it the “worst” in Canada.
“It has been a burr under my saddle,” said Powers.
The revamped website, said Adams, will greet visitors on its home page with an easy to use interactive model. It will have public meetings and consultations on the home page and eventually will include council and committee meetings. There will be four layers to the website, incorporating 22 service bundles, and 100 service pages, said Adams.
The most striking difference on the website will be a revolving “hero image” to showcase Hamilton’s building initiatives, such as the Pan Am Stadium, and waterfront development.
City staff constantly received public complaints about how hard it was for residents to access services or find information. The city receives about 4 million annual visits to the website, with about 60 per cent of those visits used to access online services such as recreation, jobs, transit, taxes, and waste.
The cost for the over two year project is about $960,000, including $58,865 for the web redesign project.
The new website, which will be available to the public for review starting July 1 at www.preview.hamilton.ca will also be accommodating to hand-held devices which compose about 40 per cent of the visits to the current website. To make it easier for the public and city staff in the transition phase, both the new and old websites will be available at the same time. Residents can provide feedback and comments through a survey on the new website, including how it adheres to the province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The launch of the new website will begin in October, said Adams.
“This is a great foundation for us,” said Adams.
Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge said the proposed website is an “excellent, excellent piece of work” and is a “long way” from the current website.