Glendale to redo city webpage, add user-friendly features

Glendale is considering a website revamp [File photo]

By Cecilia Chan
Independent Newsmedia

Glendale wants to spend $100,000 to revamp its outdated website into one that more effectively communicates with residents, businesses and other stakeholders.

“The website is in desperate need of replacement,” Public Affairs Director Brent Stoddard said at last week’s council study session.

The current webpage logs about 4.8 million page views and 1 million visitors a year with an average daily use of 16,000 page views and 5,210 visitors, according to the city.

A new website would give the public more accurate and timely information and help with the council’s goal of transparency, Mr. Stoddard said.

He listed a number of things wrong with the current website, including visually outdated, confusing and illogical navigation and bloated search returns from years of dated information dumping on the site.

Additionally, the software used for the site is unstable and archaic and the server is nearing its end of life and will not be supported in two years, according to Marc Meyer, Digital Content manager.

And, for now it is just him and one other person who are able to make changes to the website, which means news is not readily updated, Mr. Meyer said. Under the proposed new cloud-based website, more employees would be able to edit the site, which would speed up updates.

Mr. Stoddard said staff began working on this since last August with feedback from all departments on what they want to see on a new website.

The departments’ wish list included less clutter, more photos and videos, mobile friendly, a public calendar, ability to translate into other languages and the ability to put social media feeds on the webpage and having them updated in real time.

The intranet, the city’s internal online communication, faces similar problems and also will be revamped.

Councilman Bart Turner said in his 2.5 years of serving he has not had one resident say there was a problem or a dissatisfaction with the city website.

He did see the importance of having the site mobile friendly with enhanced security and foreign language capability. He sees the problem not with the site’s design but with the information or lack of information departments put online.

Councilman Jamie Aldama liked the idea of a language translator given there are four to five different languages spoken by residents in the city. He added when he came to office in 2015 one of his interests was to update the city’s webpage, which contained outdated information. He asked if there would be an archive page for older documents.

Mr. Stoddard said the site will follow the state’s retention schedule.

Mr. Phelps said the project was not about getting rid of information but how to access it. He added the funding for the project is already included in the adopted budget.

Councilwoman Joyce Clark asked for the annual support cost of a new website.

Mr. Stoddard said he has a general idea but did not want to disclose it publicly because he did not want to influence the bid process.

Staff is ready to go out to bid on the proposal any day now, he said later. He was unsure when a draft contract will come to the council for approval but once a contract is executed, the anticipated completion for the project is expected to take 10 to 12 months.

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