City's new-look website unveiled

City's new-look website unveiled

CHAMPAIGN – The city launched a new website Wednesday morning after council members approved the new design Tuesday night.

City officials say the new website will be more user-friendly and a better marketing tool to attract visitors and businesses.

The old site, which attracted roughly between 1,200 and 1,300 hits per day, was difficult for people to use, and its content was becoming increasingly out of date, city webmaster Paul Kaiser said.

"It was just losing its value as a city asset," he said.

Kaiser said the next steps are to continue updating content – meeting agendas and minutes, city budget information and the like – and to train more city staff on how to use the site and keep the information up to date.

City officials also want to make services available to residents and potential visitors – a matter of convenience for citizens and cost savings for the city.

"We want people to do as many things as possible online rather than come in to the city office," Kaiser said.

City council members unanimously gave thumbs up to the new design, and some said keeping the site up to date needs to be a priority.

"Nothing can give me a turnoff more than when I look at some organization's website and it's last year's schedule. ... We can't afford to let that happen," council member Tom Bruno said.

Bruno added that the Champaign's website has improved since he was first appointed to the council in 1997. The city website was redesigned several years ago and again this year at a cost of about $30,000.

Still, Bruno said, it is not finished.

"It's gotten better over time," he said. "But now, (Wednesday) afternoon, I think you start working on the next version because this is a moving target."

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DEB wrote on October 06, 2010 at 1:10 pm

It's not the look, it's the lack of useful information that makes the current web site pathetic. Most cities in India and South Korea and Poland have much better web sites.

Joe American wrote on October 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm

For someone who is turned off with the NG website you sure spend an awful lot of time on it, posting some of the most sour-puss remarks on here. You are a very depressing person. Have you considered "Debbie Downer" as a moniker?

And your comment about "most cities" in India, South Korea and Poland having "better" websites is both very opinionated and unsubstantiated. If you're going to make such a ridiculous claim, back it up.

dw wrote on October 06, 2010 at 2:10 pm

And this is why computer geeks should not be allowed to talk with reporters:

Statement: "It was just losing its value as a city asset,"
Translation: ????
Better put: It was showing it's age and was difficult for our customers to use.

Quote: "We want people to do as many things as possible online rather than come in to the city office,"
Translation: We don't want to see our customers.
Better put: We wanted our customers to be able to access as many city documents and services as possible whenever it is most convenient for them, and that's now possible online with our new website.