Articles

Boston Launches Pilot of New City Website

After several complaints that the current website is too difficult to navigate, the Massachusetts capital has revamped its online presence.

by Jordan Graham, Boston Herald / January 8, 2016

(TNS) -- Boston is showing off a preview of a radical redesign of its website, promising to overhaul how citizens get information about and from the city.

“We heard so many times, ‘I had no idea I could do this on the city’s website,’” said Lauren Lockwood, the city’s chief digital officer.

The city launched a pilot of its new website — pilot.boston.gov — on Jan. 7, which Lockwood said will be tweaked and improved in the coming months. She said the decision to build the website in public will eventually lead to a better end product.

“Over the next several months, we’ll be building on the site and we’ll be changing it, adding new concepts to it, adding content,” said Lockwood. “We can learn a lot from people by launching early and iterating often.”

The city’s current website — cityofboston.gov — is too hard to navigate, Lockwood said, noting there are about 20,000 individual pages right now.

The new site has a clean, modern feel, complete with a new logo for the city: a capital B with a red line underneath, which represents, in part, the Freedom Trail.

One of the new website’s signature features is what the city is calling “Topics,” which are designed to make information easier to find.

For example, instead of going to the Public Works page to report an unplowed street, then going to the Transportation Department’s page to find information on parking bans and so on, any important information about winter will be on the same page under a topic called “Winter Is Coming.”

Sections for starting a business and having a car in the city are also live on the pilot site, and more will be coming soon, Lockwood said.

Boston launched its first website — called Boston Cyber Hall — on Dec. 29, 1995, a milestone that was celebrated in a City Hall newsletter next to instructions for sending an email with an attachment.

©2016 the Boston Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.