Sunday Special:Big apple website

Welcome to my first municipality website report card.  Today, I’m reviewing the New York City website. http://www.nyc.gov

Transparency:  I checked out how easy it is to read, listen or watch to City Council meetings.  Its not.  They have a calendar, they provide snippets of videos and audio podcasts but if I want to quickly find out when the last full council meeting was, who was present, what they discussed, good luck.  I’m not saying its not available but I shouldn’t have to be an Internet sleuth, browsing and searching for ten minutes and fail to find such basic information. “C”

Feedback: It is possible to fill-out a form to complain about potholes, graffiti and other basic issues.  The form is cumbersome and requires filling out several screens which discourages people from following through.  Also, there is no interactivity.  The commenter doesn’t know if someone has already made the same complaint.  A start.  “B-”

Richness of information: I found the Civilian Complaint Review Board which concerns citizens issues with the police.  It was listed on the main drop down of city agencies.  That list is daunting and not organized clearly, some agency start with “City” and that could apply to all of them.  The search feature is excellent.  I typed “police complaint” and the second link was to this board.  The agency site allows for complaints to be filed, information on the agencies success, dates of meeting and board members.  They don’t list agendas for past meeting or minutes.  They don’t provide public information on recent complaints or trends and the like.  “B”

Transacting business:  For business licenses they are exploring a new program that allows a citizen to fill-out an online form, print it and then take it into the appropriate agency.  That’s their exploratory program?  Print off a form and bring in person to an agency?  They have a ways to go on streamlining basic business transaction online.  “C”

Overall:  This is my first official municipality website review.  I can’t compare NYC against other cities.  Its not a bad website; there is some transparency and ability to provide feedback.  They provide a lot of content. But its not that easy to use.  If you go to the NYC Council section it takes you to a different website and you can’t easily get back to the main city website. They don’t provide much in the way of ongoing city business.  You can’t easily monitor city council meeting.  There is not much interactivity.  I can’t see other people’s comments or concerns.  There business license section at least is weak on transactional capabilities.  “C+”

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3 Responses to “Sunday Special:Big apple website”

  1. Nisha Thompson Says:

    Wow this is a great post! Check out Sunshine Review’s ten point check list also http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Transparency_Checklist

    thanks

    Nisha Thompson

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Thanks Nisha! Your list is very thorough and terrifically useful. I only spend 20-30 minutes on a site looking for a few common features and more importantly decent usability! (Often lacking)

  2. NYC requires diagrams posted for new construction « Reading Tea Leaves by Randy Wilson Says:

    […] posted for new construction By Randy Wilson I posted my review of the New York City website here.  Now the city has announced that the Department of Building in an effort allow citizens to […]

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