Articles

Seattle Begins Three-Year Web Portal Refresh

The first phase of Seattle's new website launches with mobile content and service delivery in mind.

by / February 25, 2016

Seattle.gov got a makeover, Mayor Ed Murray announced Feb. 25. The new design includes updated functionality and a new look for some of the most visited city websites, including that of the mayor’s office, city council and city attorney. This refresh represents the first phase of a three-year upgrade scheduled to conclude with an integration of all city Web pages by 2018.

“Seattle.gov should reflect the city’s vibrant and innovative spirit,” Murray said in a press release. “Thanks to the hard work of our Department of Information Technology’s citywide Web team, the updated site makes it easier for the public and businesses to access services, find information, and participate in critical conversations with city government.”

This is the first major website upgrade since Seattle last redesigned its website in 2010, said Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller, adding that websites included in the new design share a common look and enjoy integration under a common content management system.

“Ed Murray has a commitment that we’re communicating with people where they are, and our new website has been refreshed to focus on content that is most important to the public and the site has been structured in a way that is much more compatible with the mobile devices increasingly being used to access government resources,” he said. “We know that about 30 percent of our traffic today is coming from mobile, and we expect that to dramatically increase.”

The city prioritized which websites would be added to the new design and content management system based on site popularity and how beneficial it would be to the city to move them, Mattmiller explained.

“Some of our websites in the city exist as traditional HTML websites outside of our city’s content management system,” he said. “From an efficiency perspective, it’s much more difficult to update and maintain those sites, so when we thought about this redesign, one of the principles we set out is we need all websites to be managed through a single tool, and we need the same visual identity across the city.”

Seattle.gov’s new design adopts the trend of putting the citizen first by arranging content according to the service needed rather than by department, a confusing arrangement for someone not familiar with the structure of city government.

Deploying a modern website that allows citizens to get the services and content they need is critical to the civic health of a city, Mattmiller said.

The redesign launch also includes a news aggregator at news.seattle.gov that simplifies browsing and searching of the city’s news and blog posts.

Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.