Posts Tagged ‘city of miami’

Sunday special: City of Miami Website

January 25, 2009

City of Miami

Transparency:The good news – excellent resources for following Miami’s City Comission (their equivalent of the City Council).  They not only have agendas, minutes AND videos of the meetings, they also allow visitor to track meetings through RSS feeds.  And they also have a promenient search feature at the page.  The bad news – its not clear from the home page that the city commission IS the equivalent of a city council.  Worse, when I figured out to click on “commission agenda’s” it took me to another website from which I then navigated back to the main website but not really.  Very confusing.  “B-“

feedback: Not good.  First, the home page doesn’t list out common issues – like reporting potholes or graffiti etc.  Of course, once I searched the site, I realized why; citizen can’t report anything from the website other than emailing city officials. “D”

Richness of Information:   I looked for information about planning permits.  First off, on the left navigation sidebar, there is a heading for “Class II Permits” but not “permits.”  After browsing the planning department site, I found, “land development” which lists out information about permits.  But it isn’t clear that the permits discussed on this page are a comprehensive set of permits.  In addition, the writing is confusing and opaque.  Here is an example:  “Class II Special Permits apply to issues related to design, character, and compatibility of a proposed application as specified within different sections of the Zoning Ordinance and the City Code.”  “D”

Transacting business: Argh.  I had to use the search function and even then it wasn’t easy to find how to obtain a business license.  From the home page, I have go into the “business” label on the left sidebar.  Then I had  to know that business licenses could be found under “economic development” and when that page opens, its called” economic initiatives” not “economic development.”  From there, I needed to realize I need to click on “small business toolkit” as my choice on the left navigational sidebar.  Then I saw a label for “get licensed” and a long section of tiny print appears detailing issues – in no particular order – that discuss getting licensed with a series of phone numbers.  Extremely poor.  “F”

Overall:  This is the worst municipal site I have analyzed.  The only redeeming feature is the excellent page dealing with the City Commission even if the navigation to it is poor.  But bad navigation is the rule with this website.  It is frequently difficult to navigate back to the home page.  Instead, once you are in a particular section, you can only get to the section’s homepage.  The print on the webpages is tiny.  The writing is worse and the website is oblivious to the users who come to the site for answers or to do business with the city.  There is virtually no ability to interact with the city government online and very little effort to even educate citizens about the functions of municipal government.  “D”