County Commissioners to discuss web site improvements tonight. I plan to watch & tweet it.


It appears this meeting is not televised, I guess that's because it's a work session. look forward to hearing the County's plans filtered through Manager Clifton's employees and (if we're lucky) local journalists. Below what the agenda said (or my attempt to copy and paste from the agenda, obviously it's yet another technical problem that I can't do this). It looks like the County is looking to pay about twice what they should for a site that will do about half of what we need. I'll write a letter to the Commissioners about this, and I will definitely be recommending that they build a new web site on an open foundation which will better serve the public now and in the future, when we will be expecting to have more access to government data and to thevery processes of our government.Something like this would be a good start:

PURPOSE:To receive an overview of the process involved with the redesign of the CountyWebsite.BACKGROUND:The County’sPublic Affairs Office and Information TechnologiesDepartmentare moving forward with the steps involved with redesigning the County’s Website.The contentmanagement and oversight of the Website will be managed by the Public Affairs Office.This initiative is identified in the 2012 Strategic Information Technologies Plan, which indicatesthe need to make the Website more functional and user-friendly.The Board membersand staffwho were surveyed by theUNCSchool of Government identified deficienciesin the overalldesign, layout, navigation options, and ability to update or create new content.A committee consisting of David Hunt, Jim Northrup, Kathy Zopfi, Keith Chnupa, and CarlaBanks hasbeen meeting since October 2012to identify the needs forcreating a dynamic Website.The financial impact isestimated to range between $40,000 and $70,000for the startup,plus annual Web hosting fees, which will be determined once a vendor has been selected.The Website redesign will result in enhancing online services currently available and improvingthe County’s image, displaying a modern and professional Web presence.•The first component is upgrading and improving the experience for people whovisit the Web site•The second objective is to streamline staff efficiency with the installation of arobust Content Management System. This component will minimize the time andeffort required to create and modify pages on the Web site.FINANCIAL IMPACT:Startup of the redesigned Websiteis estimated to range between$40,000 and $70,000, plus annual Web hosting fees, which will be determined once a vendorhas been selected.RECOMMENDATION(S):The Manager recommends that theBoardreceive the overview,discuss,and provideanydirection on any missing elements or aspects in need of clarification.1NewWebSite Design Features andFunctionalityWebVisitor/User BenefitsContent OrganizationThe newsolution will provide citizens with the choice of viewing content using a high-leveltaxonomy similar to the following:•Residents•Visitors•Business•Government•Online Services•“I Want To” Listing•Quick Links/ButtonsProvide drop down type menus for each department that will include sub-menus (fly-outs) asneeded. Menus will be viewable without using horizontal or vertical scrolling.Language TranslationProvide for Website content to be translated to a different language selected by the user. Oncethe language is selected, this language will continue to be used for the duration of the user’s visit.A disclaimer approved bytheCounty Attorneywill be displayed,prior to language selection.Slideshowsand VideosProvide ability for County staff to create slideshowsand post videos. Slideshows will includenavigation so that the user can navigate to specific slides.Event CalendarWeb ContentEditors will be able to create content that is automatically attached to a calendar.The expiration features will also apply to the calendars. This means if content is expired it willno longer show on the Website or the calendars. Visitors will be able to view the calendar andview the page(s) attached to an event. Visitors will have the option to look at department ordivision calendars or the county-wide calendar. Each calendar will have one or more contenteditors. The calendar editor will have theoption of including their content on the county-widecalendar; however, the approver/administrator must approve all calendar events before they aredisplayed on the county-wide calendar.Section 508 CompliantThe newsolution will include tools for generating "Section 508" compliant content, which is arequirement that all content be accessible to people with limited dexterity, low vision, or otherdisabilities.Automatic Formatting for Mobile DevicesThe proposed solution will determine the type of device requesting information and serve theinformation using mobile templates to accommodate thesmaller wireless screens. The Web user2will also have the option to view the full site using HTML5 if they are using a mobile devicesuch as a smartphone or tablet. Alternatively, a dedicated mobile Website can be used, but thismust be built dynamically by the proposed solution to minimize the creation and maintenanceefforts typically required for a separate mobile Web site.DepartmentalStaff BenefitsWYSIWYGEditingThe solution will use a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor for creating andmaintaining content,allowingusers to quickly and easily author and edit content, insert video orpaste content directly from MS Word or other sources.Content PreviewThis will allow editors to be able to see exactly how the content will look before publishing orsubmitting it for review and/or approval.Security and PermissionsThe newsolution will include a role-based security model. The security model will be used todetermine whether a user can create content, edit content, approve content, and administercontent levels within the site and/or users. Each user can be assigned any combination of thefollowing user roles: Author, Editor, and Approver/Administrator.SchedulingThis will allow the County to publish content by setting a date for it to be published on the site.Thenew sitewill also allow a function to schedule contentto expire and be removed from thelive Website.Form BuilderThe newsolution will include functionality to allow Web Content Editors to build on-line forms.When visitors fill out the forms on the Website, the results will be saved to the database andmade available for reporting in Excel and CSV file formats or sent to a specific email address orlist of e-mail addresses.Social Media IntegrationThe newsolution willinclude the option to publish Website content directly to social mediasites,including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter and You Tube .

... might we also hope for frames, ample use of the <blink> tag, and a link to the county's MySpace page? Or at the very least, more widespread adoption of animated gifs of American flags that both wave and *sparkle*, like the County Board of Elections site? The sheriff's office site could use an upgrade. Their animated flag gifs only wave, no sparkle.Edit: Exploring the Sheriff's website turned into an adventure. In addition to including a treasure trove of historical information, including their biblical roots and an incorrect recollection of British history, they have a fantastic image collection. Below are two of my favorites, linked to the page each was found on:

Please forgive my snark. County web needs aside, it was a truly entertaining experience.


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