New website for City of New Westminster

New Westminster, BC – The City of New Westminster launched its new website today, adding new features, fresh content and an updated look to the City’s online presence. “Increasingly, residents, businesses and visitors to the Royal City are accessing information about us through the world wide web,” said Mayor Wayne Wright. “A content-rich, user-friendly siteRead More

New Westminster, BC – The City of New Westminster launched its new website today, adding new features, fresh content and an updated look to the City’s online presence.

“Increasingly, residents, businesses and visitors to the Royal City are accessing information about us through the world wide web,” said Mayor Wayne Wright. “A content-rich, user-friendly site that captures the essence of New Westminster is a critical tool for addressing their information needs.”

The development of the new website was a key recommendation of the City’s Strategic Communications Plan completed in 2007. In the fall of 2008, under the guidance of the Communications Department, representatives from each city department formed a website committee to establish the parameters for the project. In March 2009 Ion Branding & Design, an award-winning website design firm based in Vancouver, was selected to build the site at a budgeted cost of $60,000.

“The new site is truly a collaborative effort and features a fresh look and user-friendly navigation,” said Blair Fryer, Communications Manager. “A lot of sweat and a few tears have gone into creating the City’s new website and we’re very happy with the final result.”

In addition to an updated look, the City of New Westminster website is easier to navigate for access to key information and includes new features such as a community events calendar, RSS feeds, e-news bulletins, an interactive city map and a new content management system that allows easier, faster and more flexible uploads to the site.

The City of New Westminster website address remains the same at www.newwestcity.ca.

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5 comments

  1. Oooh, zing! Matt, I'm still going through the site to really get a sense of the changes. It is much prettier, but I am finding it excruciatingly slow. Launch-day blues?

  2. Seems to be completely down right now, I can't load any pages. The new website is that popular? 🙂

    And not to sounds totally Drupal-centric, WordPress works very well for some very large websites (and here at TttF and the farmer's market websites as well). Joomla is another very popular CMS which is highly supported and free.

    I'm just not sure why anyone would pay for a non-IIS CMS these days, that's not the direction the industry is heading. The industry is standardizing mainly on these three CMSs and deriving their profit from customization and support services, not selling software itself.

  3. It’s great to see this new site finally launched, we’ve been hearing about it for over a year and it was always coming “soon.” Though it feels more like it’s simply a new skin on the existing structure, not the complete reorganization we’d heard about.

    I do have some issues to raise as a computer technology professional….

    First, within 2 minutes I found a broken link, which to me says it isn’t the only. Something there are many spider scripts available to check for, and any consulting company being paid to design a new site should have used. On the GIS map page, the “I agree” link points to newwestcity.org, which seems to be a domain squatter. The city’s just lucky the domain wasn’t taken over by purveyors of pornography as recently happened to Stephan Harper.

    My second concern is the lack of RSS feeds, that was one of the big things that was promised over a year ago. RSS feeds to a fine grained level, so you could subscribe items such as the City Pages (for those of us who don’t get the paper version of The Record and read it online it’d be nice to get the City Pages delivered to our inbox or RSS reader), or RSS feeds of “projects on the go,” variance applications or council minutes were also indicated as part of the website revamp.

    The next step would be for the city to open up their data as Vancouver is doing. http://data.vancouver.ca is fantastic, and all that same data is sitting on City of New Westminster systems, please, toss it up on the web for us. Things like zoning data, combined with an RSS feed for the items listed above such as variance applications and some fantastic mashups could be made giving residents a much bigger window in to the operations of the city (hmm, do they want us to have one?).

    It’s a good start, and it looks great, but it’s only a first step and by no means should the city consider this a finished project. Good work for what has been accomplished.

  4. Oooh, one more thing I just noticed. The website allows public, anonymous comments on articles? Probably not a good idea….

    It’s interesting how they selected Smallbox as well, which is a commercial package and therefore has licensing costs. When the free and open source Drupal is probably a better choice, Drupal powers some of the largest websites in the world, and has all the features of Smallbox plus many many more modules. It also does RSS feeds out of the box. Makes you wonder why we’re paying to license this software in these tight economic times when a free, better alternative is available.

    Drupal also would have given much prettier URLs, everything .php? Come on, that can be fixed with a simple mod_rewrite rule. And having an index.* on the top levels of directories, that’s so 1999.

    I’m starting to think “pretty” is all the site has going for it. 🙂 Technologically there might have been better choices for our investment.

  5. I'd have a hard time saying that the design is anything close to "pretty". functional, industrial, "facepress" would probably be the word i would use to describe it. And for $60,000, this websit should have been a lot more.

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