Digitizing daily lives by US government cities online
http://www.cityofboston.gov gave me a fantastic experience. I love sites that segment their content to different audiences without calling out those people. Online Services are clearly on the left,from my point of you, not by their different departments as they list it internally. Its an easy pull down menu for all payments, which led to the "Office of the Parking Clerk".
Parking Clerks Online Services is a whole different web application, but seamlessly integrated into the site. I typed my violation and could pay right away. Only caveat was that it showed that I could print my receipt and on clicking it timed out without giving me even 30 seconds. Still a wonderful user-experience for such a lousy job of paying parking tickets.
I decided to check out other US city gov sites. Heres my analysis:
I love the clean access and load of content layout of India government, with all state and local access information in one place at http://india.gov.in Why isn't there one for all US states and cities?
I found http://www.statelocalgov.net/ leads to all states and several departments. Still I found the site dry and not easy to reach the cities. Looks like a commercial site and not a government site, so I find it hard to believe the authencity of its content.
Heres my list of US city sites with my comments on them:
San Francisco http://www.sfgov.org Trying to find parking was easy but it looped after a point.
Boston http://www.cityofboston.gov Clean easr of use, everything automated online.
Chicago http://www.chicagoinfo.gov/ Just a link of all departments, not easy to find services.
Houston http://www.houstontx.gov/ I love the "I want to" tab, that talks to the consumers and leads them to different services, nicely automated online.
Tucson http://www.tucsonaz.gov/ Simple site, neatly organized for different user segments. Intersting to note :report Graffiti online automated to report graffiti on your property!
New York http://www.nyc.gov/ Confusing Portal full of news. Interesting is the link "things to do". Shows the personality of the city.
Philadelphia http://www.phila.gov/ Lot of news, but a clean left section saying "Help Me", "Find Me", "Get a" shows they care to help the consumer right away. Neat!
Milwaukee http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/ Proper URL, nice site and a clean "I want to" section. Good!
Fairfax http://www.fairfaxva.gov/ Confusing at first, but once you got residents section, its a lot of useful services.
Gloucester http://www.glos-city.gov.uk/ Colorful site, Online payments leads to very clean to use system for all sortf of payments Counsil tax, fines, and even a house rent which I wonder who pays to the city.
Seattle http://www.seattle.gov/ Clean URL, Fouused on services to users, neat search using Google to provide search of the site!
Los Angeles http://www.lacity.orgClearly reflects a city with its own personality. Uses a lot of new media and has blogs for city councils and lapd. The blogs for LA Animal Services and LA Recreation and Parksare great example of city services hosted on free Google blogger sites.
Tempe, AZ www.tempe.gov/ Colorful site, with a clear "I want to"section leading to services. Interesting stats on how many people have boarded a bus in Tempe :-)
San Jose http://www.sanjoseca.gov/ LOTS of information, not easy to navitage but its all there. A separate Customer Service web application offers segmentation of services to users.
Burlington, MA http://www.burlington.org/ Easy URL to remember. Lots of information organized by different departments. "Who do I talk to About ..108 Subjects" is very unique and should be adopted by every city. They could have a list of services like "I want to" that may cities have. I could not find information about who to contact regarding recycling plastics from a city home. One minor comment would be to offer a lighter background to make black letters readable.