Pilot site launched to show progress towards redesigned city website
January 7, 2016
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced an important step in the redesign of the City of Boston's website - the launch of the Boston.gov pilot site (pilot.boston.gov). The pilot site provides a preview of the new design and encourages feedback as the broader Boston.gov site is developed.
"This is an exciting chapter in the redesign of the City's website," said Mayor Walsh. "We want to give the people of our City a look at the work we're doing and a voice in the process as we continue to build a more welcoming and useful website."
At the start of the project, the City spoke to constituents who shared valuable feedback about how to improve the city's website. This feedback process will continue throughout the duration of the pilot, and residents are encouraged to share their thoughts on the redesign through the feedback navigation on the pilot website.
"Millions of people use digital channels to engage with City government every year," said Chief Information Officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge. "We are creating a digital front door for City Hall that is friendly, convenient, and worthy of our connected, tech-savvy city."
An audit of the more than 20,000 indexed pages illustrated the need to make it easier to find information. The goal of the redesigned City website is to help users navigate the many resources provided by the City in a way that is simple and intuitive.
The pilot site – which is optimized to fit all screen sizes, including smartphones – showcases the City’s digital brand and previews a new way of organizing content through “topics.” Topic pages feature curated content based on how a resident thinks about an issue, such as owning a car or winter preparedness.
"We heard from residents who mentioned how difficult it can be to search through departments and find the right information on the current website," said Chief Digital Officer Lauren Lockwood. "By pulling content from various departments into Topic pages, we're able to organize resources in a more intuitive way."
While the pilot site focuses on topic pages as a new way to discover tools and resources, the redesigned City website will eventually include additional ways for residents to easily find the content they need, including a more robust menu and navigation bar.
The pilot website is a work in progress and will continue to grow and change in the coming months with an expected full launch of the new Boston.gov site later in 2016. In the meantime, the current website (www.CityofBoston.gov) will operate as usual.
The effort is being led by the City's Digital Team in partnership with IDEO, an award-winning global design firm, and Boston-based Acquia, a leading local technology provider. To receive updates on this project, sign up at Boston.gov/Digital.
About the City of Boston's Digital Team
The Digital Team is part of the City's Department of Innovation and Technology and focuses on delivering digital services that are welcoming, highly useful, and designed around the needs of the Boston community.