Coverage of the website launch in the Chicago Tribune:
Elgin ready to roll out new website
Elgin residents will see a new city website with more functions, including a new “My Elgin” feature starting Thursday morning. (Image courtesy The Gibson Group / July 24, 2012)By Kate Thayer Chicago Tribune reporter | 11:33 a.m. CDT, July 24, 2012Officials announced this week they would roll out the sleek design that has been in the making for months. The new site, www.cityofelgin.org, is expected to go live Thursday morning.
The new site allows residents to register and log in to view forms they’ve submitted to the city, among other documents, said Laurie Faith Gibson, president of consulting group The Gibson Group, Inc., which worked on the project.
The site also has a “How Do I…?” menu where residents can get information on applying for permits, paying bills and other functions, Gibson said.
Searching on the site will now be managed by Google, including Google Translate, which allows users to translate nearly all the site’s content to other languages, she said.
Public Works, Police and Parks and Recreation departments each have their own custom navigation on their sections of the site – something officials hope to expand to other departments later this year. By September, officials said licensing, permitting and epay functions will also be available 24 hours a day-seven days a week.
Eventually, the site’s public feedback button will also link to a future “311” system to be developed in the city, Gibson said.
The total cost of the project was $11,500 – far reduced from the more than $20,000 that was quoted by web designers in the past, Gibson said.
More coverage of the City Council presentation from BocaJump.com
Redesigned Elgin website more interactive, easier to use
By Nick Petersen ● BocaJump | July 25, 2012
Visitors to the city of Elgin’s website Thursday will find it more attractive, informative and easier to use than ever.
The city’s website www.cityofelgin.org has a new design created at minimal cost, city Multimedia Production Specialist Karla Persky told the Elgin City Council during Wednesday night’s committee of the whole meeting. Persky and Laurie Faith Gibson of The Gibson Group, a paid consultant for the redesign, previewed the website and its new features for council members.
Gibson said the new-look site’s resident guide is more user-friendly, and offers a community calendar that’s all-inclusive. Its Community Voice module allows registered users to comment on city issues, she said, and a new feature, How Do I…, will provide users with city services contact information and answer some procedural questions, she said. Soon, visitors will be able to fill out licensing and permit application and pay city bills and fees online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Gibson said.
Three departments — police, public works and parks and recreation — have their own modules and custom navigation on the site. “You can even book tee times at city golf courses” on the parks and recreation module, she said. The Hemmens will have its own calendar and web pages soon. Other departments will get their own customization later, Gibson said.
The redesigned site, whose functions are accessible to both PC and Mac users, has Google Translate feature for those who speak languages other than English, she said. The site’s front page displays images of Elgin that change as users refresh the page and new descriptions of and about Elgin have been added, Gibson said.
In response to a question from council member Richard Dunne, Gibson said the new site puts all city job information in one place instead of being sprinkled throughout. Council member Anna Moeller asked about who is responsible for updating content on the site. Persky said the department heads and some city staff members will be responsible for making sure information is continually updated and accurate.
City Manager Sean Stegall, responding to a question from council member John Steffen about whether the permits and licenses section of the site will lead a business owner step by step to all the forms he needs to fill out, admitted the redesigned site isn’t the be-all and end-all in that regard. “Business owners should still call city hall” to ensure that all the necessary forms are filled out and the correct process followed, he said.