City of Phoenix Official Website
With its debut in 1995 as "Phoenix At Your Fingertips," phoenix.gov is one of the pioneers in government web sites. The city's web site offers electronic access to Phoenix City Hall 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The public can obtain budget information, public records, communicate via e-mail with City Council members and city officials, pay bills, apply for city jobs, join a mailing list, report graffiti, potholes and other problems, watch city videos and gain access to a wealth of information ranging from crime statistics to parks locations to public events schedules. Providing information from the public's point of view has been a hallmark of Phoenix's philosophy regarding electronic access to government. Today, more than 18,000 pages of information and interactive applications are online to serve the public.
Some examples of the interactive nature of phoenix.gov and include:
- A secure way to apply for a city job using a Web browser
- Online payments of water bills, parking tickets and oversize vehicle permits
- Online subscriptions to city jobs listings
- The ability to report neighborhood and street problems
- The online seamless service directory, which enables the public to obtain services using a wide variety of keywords and topics
The goal of the city's web site is to use technology to offer online as many of the same services that are available in person as possible. Equally important is to use modern electronic communications technology to increase accessibility to city services and empower people — regardless of their socioeconomic status, age or physical disability — to be able to fully participate in city government.
In 1994, Phoenix leaders saw an unprecedented opportunity to give full and equal electronic access to government for all citizens. With a $50,000 federal grant, the city created three public-access computer workstations and its Web site, dubbed Phoenix At Your Fingertips, thus launching its vision of the Electronic Community Access Model. That same year, the Phoenix City Council adopted the City of Phoenix Information Superhighway Policy. This policy recognizes the importance of an advanced telecommunications framework to benefit the community, businesses and government.
In 1995, the city received another federal grant for $225,000 to expand its electronic access to virtually every city resident. It did so by providing public-access workstations within a three-mile radius of every Phoenix neighborhood. In October 1996, 30 additional workstations were installed at 27 sites including library branches, senior and community centers and non-profit agencies. Four of these sites provide service to the disabled community. By October 1997, 56 workstations were installed at 37 sites. By 2004, under Library Department direction, some 300 workstations in 14 branches served as public access devices.
Outreach a Key Objective
ECAM and the Information Superhighway Policy, both then and now, envision using phoenix.gov to enable all people from all walks of life to interact with the city. Nowhere is this more important than for people who because of their socioeconomic status, age or a disability would not have had a chance to interact as fully in city government matters.
This effort attempts to reach those who cannot afford a personal computer, as well as members of the public who must rely on special assistive technology due to a disability. Phoenix supports the philosophy that the World Wide Web Consortium, also known as the W3C, sets forth for usability and accessibility. The W3C is the international body that sets standards for the web.
When the W3C released its latest guidelines in December 2002, the organization had this to say about accessibility: "Access to the web for people with disabilities, however, presumes that Web developers choose accessible design over inaccessible design..." To that end, Phoenix's design standards require that all pages be tested in special software to ensure that it is usable in such devices as text-to-speech readers and that the code is compatible with the special software that people with disabilities may use to view the Web. The city's online forms and applications must also be usable from public-access workstations. For example, all e-mail must be routed through special forms that can accommodate workstations that do not have an e-mail application on them.
Two special outreach programs were implemented to provide service to all citizens. One program consists of training a group of senior citizen volunteers called senior "net" trainers, volunteers from the city's senior centers who have teaching experience, are computer literate and were given specialized instruction about phoenix.gov. Since July 1996, net trainers have been providing training to other volunteer seniors interested in becoming a "computer buddy" with a less-skilled person. Computer buddies serve as hands-on instructors to clientele wishing to learn about workstation use. Training is individually tailored for each center and the interested users. These net trainers and computer buddy volunteers provided nearly 20,000 hours of service.
The debut in 2000 of a redesigned web site represented the city's strong commitment, since the very beginning of its foray into electronic communications technologies, to increasing full public access to, and participation in, government. That commitment will be reinforced again throughout 2004, when a new Web Content Management System will bring new efficiencies to the web site and enhance the delivery of services and information online.
The city's web site underwent a reorganization and redesign in October 2008. What residents see online now at the top levels of the site is the result of a collaborative effort involving the Phoenix Public Information Office, Information Technology Services, and Rhino Internet Web design consultants. The project incorporated extensive feedback from city content maintainers and Web information providers collected during the redesign process.
- Sunny Award, Sunshine Review, for information available online, 2013
- Sunny Award, Sunshine Review, for transparency, site organization and for information available online, 2012
- Sunny Award, Sunshine Review, perfect website transparency score for government information available online, 2011
- Sunny Award, Sunshine Review, for transparency in government information available online, 2010
- Fourth place, Center for Digital Government's "Best of the Web" competition for local government sites, 2003
- CIO-100 Winner, CIO magazine, for innovation in technology, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000
- Finalist, Center for Digital Government's "Best of the Web" competition for local government sites, 2002
- Winner of the National League of Cities' 1998 Innovation Awards "Harnessing Information Technology for Your City" Public Access Category
- Finalist in the "Bangemann Challenge," 1999, in the Public Services and Democracy category
More information about city website awards may be found on the city's Awards and Recognition website under the "Technology and Trades" and "Media Communications and Web" categories.
phoenix.gov Partnerships and Volunteers
The city of Phoenix extends its appreciation to those partners and volunteers who have contributed to the creation and ongoing support of phoenix.gov. Of special recognition are:
In 1988, the citizens of Phoenix approved a municipal bond program for the city of Phoenix Information Systems. One of the projects, Office Automation and Information Sharing, contributed funds for the creation of this project. Phoenix At Your Fingertips was designed to provide citizens with computerized access to city information, which previously was available only through citizen visits to government facilities or by telephone. The project's information sharing element qualified it to receive some OA/IS bond-funded support.
United States Department of Commerce, NTIA
In October 1994, a $50,000 federal grant was awarded to the city of Phoenix to develop the Electronic Community Access Model. In October 1995, a $225,000 federal grant was awarded to the city to provide universal access and service to all its citizens. Today, phoenix.gov represents ECAM and was made possible in part by receipt of the two grants from the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL)
Having served as a site for a public workstation equipped with assistive technology, ABIL's vision is the full community integration and participation of individuals with disabilities regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age or disability. ABIL's mission is to provide programs designed to assist people with a variety of disabilities to achieve or continue independent lifestyles within their community.
Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc.
Having served as a site for a public workstation equipped with assistive technology, the center serves individuals who are blind and visually impaired and is one of the sites selected for one of the public workstations with assistive technology. The center's mission is to enhance the quality of life of people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired by providing a wide range of services.
Foundation for Blind Children
Having served as a site for a public workstation equipped with assistive technology, the foundation's purpose is to provide education, counseling, independent skills development, technology training, recreation and adapted materials to blind and visually impaired children and their families. Through the addition of the new adaptive technology center, the foundation has expanded its mission to include serving adults of all ages.
Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services provides project management, implements the tools and technology, converts and installs the documents and graphics, creates standards and procedures, and is responsible for the ongoing operation of phoenix.gov
City departments and functions provide the information contained in phoenix.gov and keep the information current and of value to Phoenix citizens.
Public Information Office
The Public Information Office reviews and edits phoenix.gov documents, organizes the information into areas of interest and coordinates the graphics.
Volunteer Senior Net and Computer Buddy Trainers
In July 1996, 65 senior center volunteers and staff were trained in the use of public-access workstations. These "net trainers" trained other senior volunteers to be "computer buddies." These skilled seniors volunteer their time to assist senior center patrons in the use of phoenix.gov. In fact, their volunteer time was accumulated as in-kind match to the federal grant of $225,000, which equated to more than 20,000 hours of citizen time dedicated to phoenix.gov.
Providing volunteer training at the Westside Family Center, the Handicapped Connection is a community-based, non-profit corporation headquartered in Phoenix that has been providing recreation and socialization services for developmentally disabled persons since 1983.
In July 1996, 65 senior center volunteers and staff were trained by MIDAK in the use of Phoenix At Your Fingertips workstations. MIDAK donated their time, facilities and staff to provide this training for this project.
Muchmore & Wallwork
The law offices of Muchmore & Wallwork donated three public-access workstations that soon were placed in neighborhood areas.
Telephone Pioneers of America
During the installation of the public-access workstations, volunteers from the Telephone Pioneers of America installed approximately 3,000 feet of cable at 15 sites, which involved more than 260 hours of donated time.
Thank you to all of the partners and volunteers associated with phoenix.gov!