In a study session Tuesday, council members expressed frustration that Mountain View was not moving quickly enough on the project and that the website wasn't as simple and easy to use as it could be. City-hired consultant Pacific Technologies Inc. pointed to the website for Redmond, Wash. which PTI said it helped develop into an exemplary city government website.
While Mountain View's website has most of the components of a good website, "We've never had a usability expert look at it," said council member Ronit Bryant. "I should be able to find the information very easily."
A major complaint about the city's website by council members has been the difficulty in searching past council reports. Non-council members also have a hard time finding city council agendas and reports before meetings on the city's website, which links to a complicated document retrieval system. Other improvements could include the incorporation of the GIS mapping system the planning department uses onto the site, as other cities have done.
The "strategic plan" the city is coming up with isn't limited to the website. The goal is to "lay the foundation for how city will use technology to meet the needs of the community and residents." It could include, for example, the ability for people to make appearances at City Council meetings via Skype, said council member Mike Kasperzak.
Resident Bruce England called on the council to establish a task force of the city's residents and technology experts to inform the process, but council members said that would be too time consuming and proposed having a meeting to gather the input instead. PTI is conducting focus groups this week to gather input for the project from city employees.