Since I’m moving here today, my report card is hardly academic!
City of Oakland
Transparency: There is video of City Council meetings. There is a calendar that lists meeting dates, whether there is an agenda and video. All good. The only improvement I would suggest is to under the homepage link, “Council Agendas & Minutes” to place the calendar directly under that that link. “A-”
Feedback: Like all the city websites I’ve visited there is no ability to publicly post questions or concerns so other citizens can read them. However, at the homepage they have a link called, “Report a problem/Ask a Question.” And it take you to a form with relatively straightforward questions and they tell you that you will receive a call or email within a few days. Check boxes include: trash, dead animal, graffiti, barking dog, abandoned vehicle and more. “B+”
Richness of information: The homepage provides directional navigational links rather than subject-oriented links. There are four choices about residential, business, visiting Oakland and a link to city services. There is also four drop down menus that include city department, frequently visited pages, online services, finding a document. I used the drop down for city departments to find the business permits section which was pretty easy. But the page itself was disappointing. No sidebars or links to other pages just long paragraphs of text laidout against an annoying background of a visual of the city. “C”
Transaction business: It wasn’t easy finding out what you needed to register as a new business in Oakland. In fact, I found it under the “Finance and Management Agency” and its a PDF form you have to download that includes instructions. There is absolutely no information about types of business that need to register, fees, how to pay, what you get or anything. There isn’t even a phone number to call. I shouldn’t have to download a form to receive basic information. ”D”
Overall: This site is a mixed bag; containing strong homepage navigation, a good City Council calendar, a decent feedback form with poor internal navigation and extremely weak content and layout. The website desperately needs a relaunch. The busy background has to go and the crude looking pages harken back to the early dot.com era when pretty graphics and scrolling text were new and exciting. Earth to Oakland, the world’s moved on. “C”