In December 2012, the Phoenix Public Information Office and Information Technology Services kicked off the phoenix.gov Refresh Project. Since that time, city staff and stakeholders have been working diligently on the project.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions we hope will help you understand the interim changes you are seeing on the city website as well as provide an update as to where we are on this project.
Why is the city updating its website?
According the Pew Research Center, more than 50% of U.S. adults own either a tablet or smartphone - we want our customers to be able to view a majority of city information on a smart phone or any internet-connected device.
How is the city going to accomplish this goal?
The new website will be created using responsive design, a method of designing a website to automatically adjust and present content based on the user’s screen size, platform and orientation.
Why not create a separate mobile website?
Making our existing website usable on any Internet-enabled device (smart phone, desktop, tablet) will eliminate the need for the city to create and maintain a separate website for mobile viewing, saving taxpayer dollars and staff resources.
What are the benefits of using responsive design?
If utilized properly, responsive design has a number of benefits for our city brand, our customers, and search engines, including:
- Maintaining the branding for phoenix.gov as the official, single source of city information;
- Allowing our customers to view phoenix.gov on any Internet-connected device without pinching, expanding or scrolling left and right, making for a better user experience;
- Enhancing the ability of search engines, such as Google and Bing, to drive people to our content. These search engines favor responsive websites because their “spiders” can crawl these sites much more effectively and index content more efficiently.
Will all content on phoenix.gov be web responsive right away?
Approximately 97% of phoenix.gov will be web responsive in the first phase of the project. Other content, such as online applications created using third-party solutions, will be converted to web responsive designs as part of their service contract renewals.
When will the new site be launched?
The new site is scheduled for launch in December 2013.
What has the city been doing on this project since December 2012?
We have been working with a web design consultant selected during a competitive bid process, to develop web-responsive page layouts, design a fresh look and feel for the website, and provide overall professional guidance to help us meet our goals. Additionally, we have been working with city departments to clean up their web content, expiring duplicate or out of date content, and adding good keywords so we can both reduce the number of pages on phoenix.gov and enhance site searchability.
How will departments expiring web content impact phoenix.gov?
Reducing the amount of content on phoenix.gov is critical from a design standpoint as well as a user standpoint. We had more than 12,000 pages on the site (more than some large corporate websites!), which makes searchability a challenge. Results of such a major cleanup include broken links, which we try to fix as quickly as possible. This also means some webpages you might have bookmarked will no longer work. We appreciate your patience as we work through the process to provide an improved city website.
How can I provide input, report a broken link, or get more information about the project?
Please send an email to the Public Information Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.