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Public Involvement Report June 5, 2008

City of Austin 301 W. 2nd St. Austin, Texas 78741 www.austingo.org


Table of Contents Introduction ............................................................. 2

Facts About Austin City Connection ........................ 3

Austin Go Web Use Survey Findings

And Recommendations ................................ 4

Austin Go Web Town Hall Findings

And Recommendations ................................ 15

Appendix 1 – Online Survey Results ....................... 19

Appendix 2 – Town Hall Comments/suggestions .... 31


Introduction Launched in early 1995 as one of the few municipal

Austin City Connection has grown from an initial 300 pages to more than 40,000.

government sites in the nation, the City of Austin municipal Web site, Austin City Connection, has grown from an initial 300 pages to more than 40,000. The site provides the public an Internet portal to all City departments, services and government functions. However, no significant update or corporate-level redesign of the site has occurred since 2002.

In November 2007, the Austin City Council voted in support of a complete Web redesign utilizing the input of Austinites at every stage of redevelopment. The redesign was initiated by Council Member Lee Leffingwell with the goal of creating a more open resource for the people of Austin and creating a new standard for municipal Web sites.

No city in the nation boasts a more technologically adept and creative group of residents than Austin, and Austin will work together to create a Web site that fits the culture, spirit and needs of our unique and vibrant City.


Facts about Austin City Connection Year of launch: 1995 Year of last redesign: 2002

Number of Web pages, 1995: 300 Number of Web pages, 2007: 40,000+

Number of pageviews, 1997: 189,000/month Number of pageviews, 2007: 4.5 million/month

Number of service areas, 1995: Less than 20 Number of service areas, 2007: 250+

Number of hosted files, 1995: about 300 Number of hosted files 2007: 80,000+

Austin City Connection awards/rankings: Brown University e-government ranking: Top 30 city from 2001 to 2004. “MuniNet Guide & Review’s” “Top Pick” municipal Web site in the nation, 1997 to 2002. Best of Web, Local Government Finalist 2002.


Austin GO Web Use Survey (November 2007 – January 2008) The Web site redesign project began with an online survey taken by almost 2,000 Austinites. This survey ran from Nov. 1, 2007, to Jan. 4, 2008. The survey measured how the average Austinite uses the Web and how they use the City Web site in particular. Paper copies of the survey were available for people to take without a computer, and both paper and online surveys were available in English or Spanish.


Web survey findings Finding: Although survey respondents classified themselves as knowledgeable and frequent users of the Internet, almost a third of them found it difficult or very difficult to find information on the City site.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents self-classified themselves as “high-end” users and an overwhelming majority of them (95 percent) access the Internet everyday. More than 90 percent find it easy or very easy to find information on the Internet as a whole.

It was therefore surprising to find that almost a third of these

More than 60 percent of respondents could not find pages that they knew existed on the site.

very respondents (about 30 percent) found it difficult or very difficult to find information on the site. Also surprising was the statistic that more than 60 percent of respondents could not find pages that they knew existed on the site.

This indicates that visitors to the City Web site are experiencing problems related to poor information architecture. Information architecture refers to the concept of designing shared information environments and organizing and labeling information and pages in Web sites, intranets and online communities.

To remedy problems related to the site’s current poor information architecture, the team must fully re-architecture the City’s Web site by identifying industry best practices and


then developing an architecture that supports all programs, business units and services (including those that cross departmental lines).

Current departmental content must be aligned within the newly developed architecture.

Portals or similar methods of navigation must be developed that focus on content and online services by specific user groups. Current departmental content must be aligned within the newly developed architecture.

Finally, a broad use of audio, visual and interactive tools must be supported by the new information architecture.

At a minimum, the team must develop an information architecture that ensures that all City Web site user groups are able to complete the specific tasks they are visiting the City Web site to accomplish.

Recommendation: The Web Site Redesign Team must embrace sound information architecture through standard navigation, userdefined groups and an outside-in approach to provide access to City information and services for everyone.


Finding: While 80 percent of survey respondents favor search engines to locate online information, indicating a high degree of ease and familiarity with using these valuable tools, one of the most consistent complaints throughout the survey regarded the City Web site search engine.

As stated earlier, survey respondents consider themselves Web savvy and have little problem finding information on the Web as a whole.

But in addition to the one-third of respondents who had trouble finding information on the Web site, large numbers of respondents cited problems with the City’s search engine. Only about 20 percent of survey respondents used the City of Austin Web site search function. An equal number used outside search engines to search the City site. More than 40 percent navigated the site without the search engine or by following links.

More than 250 respondents answered an open-ended question about problems they had experienced with the City’s Web site. Twenty-one percent of these respondents had problems with Web searches on the City site.

One thousand respondents responded to an open-ended question about features that could improve the City’s Web site. Almost 100 of these provided suggestions for improvements to the search feature on the City of Austin Web site.


Early in the online survey it became apparent to the Web team that large numbers of respondents were referencing the City search engine as a problem. As part of an ongoing strategic

Google Mini, a search technology based on the same technology as the Google.com search engine, was implemented throughout the City Web site.

enhancement, Google Mini, a search technology based on the same technology as the Google.com search engine, was implemented throughout the City Web site. The City’s search engine is now much more robust, easy to use and provides much improved search results.

However, this success must be built on and improved as the Web Redesign Project progresses.

Recommendation: Continue to build on the successful implementation of Google Mini Search Technology and ensure that improved search capabilities remain a vital part of the Web redesign project.


Finding: Survey respondents are comfortable with paying bills online, filling out online forms, and many said they would utilize an online City account to personalize information and services.

While there was some division about respondents’ willingness to register online, fill out online forms or conduct online credit card transactions, there appears to be significant interest in these features.

In the open-ended question about Web site improvements, almost 30 suggested payment services be added to the Web site. More than 30 suggested online registration and reservation be added to the site.

Only 16 percent of respondents expressed any discomfort with filling out online forms, with the remainder being moderately or very comfortable filling out forms.

Forty-four percent said they would utilize an online City account to personalize information and services. At the same time, useful information was gathered indicating the issues that would keep people from filling out an online registration form. Thirty-three percent said that accessing the City site was not worth revealing the requested information, 17 percent said that filling out the form would take too much time, and 14 percent said they did not trust entities requesting their information.


Recommendation: City departments should be given the ability to conduct standard credit card transactions and, where appropriate, allow for online registration of City Web site users to improve usability and access to services.


Finding: Most respondents who self-identified as disabled found the City Web site easy to use, but a significant number did have issues with using the site.

About 7 percent of respondents had some sort of physical disability. Among these respondents, 73 percent found the City Web site “easy” or “very easy” to use. Seventeen percent found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to use.

Although the 17 percent number is low, it is unacceptable that users still encounter issues with the City Web site. The official policy of the City of Austin is that its Web site be accessible to everyone according to the federal standards of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998. This essentially requires that there be no barriers to the use of a Web site to any disabled user, and that sites be designed so that the screen reader of visually impaired users can translate the site in as efficient a way as possible.

Recommendation: The Web Redesign Team should incorporate accessibility standards into all aspects of the project from the ground up.


Finding: Respondents to an open-ended question about improvements to the City Web site commonly suggested ideas or improvements that involved the design, style or standards of the site.

More than 1,000 respondents responded to an open-ended question about features that could improve the City’s Web site.

Many respondents suggested improvements including an overarching navbar, a “breadcrumb” type system to provide easy return and short cuts to frequently used features.

Others made suggestions involving the overall design and look of the site, including the need for a “cool new interface” or “a more modern look.”

A significant number of respondents focused on the need for improvements pertaining to compatibility issues and features, including RSS Feeds, Browser issues and a potential “My City Account” that allows registration and customization of options.

Many noted the some type of need for “up to date information,” ranging from official documents to flight arrivals and departures.

The Web Site Redesign team must create and sustain content and design standards across all portions of Web site. This will include, but not be limited to, a standardized header and footer used consistently throughout the site, a consistent look and feel throughout the COA Web site and the development of custom color palettes for use throughout the Web site.


Eventually, composites of templates for first, second, third, fourth and fifth level pages will be developed, using cascading style sheets.

It is important to note that the various templates for sub-level pages will allow for some departmental and service area individual personality while still fitting within the top level look and feel.

Recommendation: The use of a consistent style and some sort of consistent header, footer or other frame for every page on the City Web site would fulfill many of these suggestions. The simplest way to achieve this would be through the use of consistent content standards across every departmental or program site.


Town Hall Schedule • 6 p.m., Jan. 29, 2008, in the Council Chambers at Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St. • 7 p.m. Feb. 4, 2008, at the George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. • 7 p.m. Feb. 7, 2008, at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus Commons Conference Center, Building 137, 10100 Burnet Road. • 7 p.m. Feb. 12, 2008, at the Ruiz Branch Library, 1600 Grove Blvd. • 7 p.m. Feb. 21, 2008, at the Austin

Town Hall Meeting Findings and Recommendations Town hall meetings were also an important part of the Austin GO project. Six town hall meetings gave Austinites forums to offer ideas on what promises to be a new standard for municipal Web sites. The town hall meetings were also a chance for City officials to discuss the importance of public involvement in the Web redesign project, present an executive summary of the recent Web usage survey results and outline the best practices embraced by other cities. All town hall meetings included sign language interpretation for deaf and hard of hearing participants.

Community College Pinnacle Campus, room 1013, 7748 U.S. 290 West. • 7 p.m. Feb. 25, 2008, at the Lower Colorado River Authority Headquarters board room, 3700

Finding: The largest number of suggestions concerned site-wide improvements that would be applied to all departmental and corporate sites.

Lake Austin Blvd. Almost 50 of the suggestions gathered at the Austin GO town hall meetings were improvements that would most effectively and efficiently be applied to the entire City Web redesign project.

These suggestions involved issues such as information architecture, navigation, use of language, security and other improvements that could be utilized on every departmental, program or project Web site.


These corporate-level improvements comprised slightly more than 50 percent of all the suggestions gathered at the town halls. These results paralleled those of the Austin GO Online Web Use survey, where an even greater percentage of suggestions involved changes or improvements to the entire City Web site.

Recommendation: Sweeping changes must be implemented across all City departments’ and utilities’ Web sites. Given the scope of this change, it will be most efficient to change all sites at once, using a consistent style, header, footer or other frame for every page and also use of a consistent content standards across every departmental or program site. Use of a single content management system for all sites will be most efficient.


Finding: Town hall meetings also gathered significant numbers of suggestions for the City Council/municipal government sites, the Development Department and the City Clerk and/or Commissions.

Each of these departments generated about 10 suggestions for changes or improvements.

City Clerk suggestions included accessibility to boards and commissions meetings, minutes or video; and comments about the accuracy of different information on the site.

Development suggestions involved accessibility to information about projects and notifications.

Suggestions for Council involved communications with City government, archived meetings and background about how government works.

Recommendation: Departmental sites should be redesigned in stages, dividing them into perhaps three tiers balancing use and prominence of the site with the technical challenges involved in updating them.


Finding: Most suggestions from the town hall meetings involved new or improved content on the City Web site or new or improved technology for the City Web site.

Every suggestion generated at the town hall meeting was classified according to whether it was: • A content improvement • A technology improvement • A service improvement • A design improvement The overwhelming majority of suggestions were content or technology improvements.

Recommendation: Team members from the Communications and Technology Management and Communications and Public Information departments should work closely together and collaborate at all times to ensure the redesign effort addresses as many suggestions generated from the town halls as possible.


Question 1: What kind of Internet user

Appendix 1: Online Survey results

would you say you are? Question 1 High-end .............. 59.0 percent

What kind of Internet user would you say you are?

Medium .............. 40.5 percent

Survey respondents’ self-classification of themselves as “high

Low-level.............. 0.5 percent

end” users (59 percent) or “medium” users (40.5 percent)

________________________________

reflects Austin’s reputation as a tech-savvy community that

Table 1

embraces online communication. (See Table 1.)

Question 2 How frequently do you access the Internet? An overwhelming number of respondents (more than 95 percent) access the Internet every day. (See Graph 1.)

Question 3 How do you most commonly find information on the Internet? Graph 1

Survey respondents favor search engines to locate information online (81.5 percent). (See Graph 2.)

Question 4 How easy is it for you to find information on the Internet? Respondents have little difficulty in finding information on the Internet as a whole. (See Table 2.)

Question 5 How frequently do you access the City of Austin Web site? About a third of survey respondents access the City site a few times a week, with significant percentages (about 20 percent each) visiting the site weekly or monthly. Less than one Graph 2

percent was visiting the City site for the first time by taking the Web use survey. (See Graph 3.)


Question 6 How do you most commonly find things on the City of Austin Web site? Only about 20 percent of survey respondents used the City of Austin Web site search function. An equal number used outside search engines to search the City site. More than 40 percent navigated the site without the search engine or by following links. (See Graph 4.)

Graph 3

Question 7 Question 4: How easy is it for you to

How easy is it for you to find information on the City of Austin

find information on the Internet?

Web site?

“Easy” and “Very Easy”............

More than 30 percent found it difficult or very difficult to find

92.3

information on the site. About 30 percent found it easy or very

percent “Neutral”...................................

6.6

easy to find information on the site. (See Table 3.)

percent “Difficult” and “Very Difficult...... 1.0

Question 8

percent

Have you visited the City of Austin Web site for any of these

________________________________

reasons?

Table 2

Most survey respondents visited the City site to locate City facilities, access City services, get City government information or find events and recreation online. Other common uses were a visit as part of job search or to get information about a City meeting. (See Graph 5.)

Part L of Question 8 gave participants the opportunity to writein comments about any additional reason for why they may have visited the City of Austin Web site. 378 comments were collected and placed in the categories in Table 4, below. Full Graph 4

comments can be accessed via the Web site.


How easy is it for you to find

Question 9

information on the City of Austin Web

Have you ever encountered a problem while using the City of

site?

Austin Web site?

“Easy” and “Very Easy”............. 27.7

The most common problem facing users of the City Web site

percent

was an inability to find sought after information, followed by

“Neutral”.................................... 39.0

problems with out of date information. More than 60 percent

percent

of respondents could not find pages that they knew existed

“Difficult” and “Very Difficult...... 33.4

on the site. Another common complaint was the belief that

percent

information is not posted quickly enough to the City site. (See

________________________________

Graph 6.)

Table 3

Part M of Question 9 allowed participants to report any problems they’ve encountered with the City of Austin Web site in an open-ended format. 266 participants listed issues listed in Table 5, below. As with previous open-ended questions, full comments can be accessed via the Web site.

Question 10 Please rank the following City of Austin Web site issues in importance to you. Graph 5

The most important issue to respondents was accuracy of information, followed by ease of Web site navigation, search capabilities, security of personal information, privacy for users and consistent look of the site. (See Graph 7.)

Question 11 Have you ever used the following online services? A majority of survey respondents had viewed interactive maps and searched for employment, crime statistics, library catalogs and online flight information. About 40 percent of respondents Graph 6

paid utility bills online. (See Graph 8.)


Question 8, Part L

Question 12

To get City government information ... 206

Please tell us what features(s) could be added to improve the

To access City services ..................... 79

City of Austin Web site. Be specific about the features you’d

To locate City facilities ....................... 24

like to see rather than comparing it to other Web sites.

Other ................................................. 24

Question 12 asked participants to provide a list of features

To find events and recreation

that would help improve the City of Austin Web site. More

information.........................................13

than 1,000 participants provided a response and these

To conduct business with the City ....12

are categorized below according to main topic. Since this

To get information about a City meeting

question was directly related to the overall redesign task, each

......................................................... 8

category in Table 6 is explained with relevant examples. Full

Looking for business information ................

comments to this and all questions can be accessed via the

......................................................... 7

Web site (http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/austingo/ago_results.

For job opportunities ....................... 3

cfm?ago=show).

To watch a City meeting ................. 1 To learn about Austin in order to plan a trip

Summary of comments from open-ended responses

....................................................... 1 __________________________________

311 Service – These comments concern the addition of the

Table 4

311 service. For example, one participant hopes to put 311 requests online with the ability to track their status.

ADA – Comments in this group represented requests for Web site enhancements that would make it more accessible. Suggestions include more audio components for hearing impaired and larger fonts and buttons for the visually impaired.

Business Concerns - Instances where the City is used in reference to the participant’s business or potential business needs.

Graph 7 Charter/Ordinance Information – These comments focused


What caused you problems with the site? on the City Charters and Ordinances and their availability Search.................................

57

on the Web site. Comments mainly reference the trouble

Navigation ..........................

36

accessing this resource.

Design ................................

33

Out of date info ..................

20

City Council Information – Comments in this category

Cannot find on site .............

19

concerned issues or interests with gathering more information

Back end ............................

15

about City Council proceedings. A frequent theme included

GIS maps ...........................

14

requests for a quicker turnaround in regards to minutes and

Verbage .............................

12

votes.

Library ................................

12

Online survey .....................

11

City Information – Includes most general comments or

Internal ................................

9

inquiries about City business such as business hours,

Police crime data ................

7

operations of the City and clear explanations of what each

eCareer ...............................

6

Department does.

Connection speed ...............

5

Pay site ...............................

5

Communication Feature – Comments here focus on

Animal issues .....................

1

interacting in real-time with City Council, boards, commissions

Registration .......................

1

or other City of Austin Web site users in a forum/online

Inconsistent info ................

1

community setting.

Permits ..............................

1

More green .......................

1

Contact Information – Participants expressed a strong

__________________________________

interest in quickly and simply accessing phone numbers and

Table 5

e-mail addresses of City employees and officials.

Crime Statistics – Comments in this section focused on a desire to find more crime statistics or up to date numbers in a better, efficient format than currently offered.

Design Suggestion – These are comments that focused specifically compatibility issues and features the new Web site might have. Such areas covered were RSS Feeds, Graph 8

Browser issues, and a potential “My City Account” that allows


registration and customization of options.

Development – Participants had major concerns with being able to retrieve Development information from the Web site.

Employment Page – Comments focused on the experience of using the City of Austin job page. Recommendations include being able to e-mail jobs to friends and navigating freely around the site without specific issues.

Event Information – Participants discussed a need for easy to find information about Citywide events and programs and an interactive calendar.

GIS Suggestion – These comments focused specifically on improving the speed and accessibility of the GIS mapping feature.

Intranet - Includes comments about the City’s Intranet Web sites.

Jargon – Many participants asked for a simplification of language and reduction of acronyms when designing the new site.

Library – Comments in this section concern the various aspects of using the Library services such as online library catalog and database search, with many asking for notifications of overdue books and the ability to pay fines online.

Look and Feel – Participants used this category to express a


need for the redesign to “have a cool new interface,” “a more modern look,” and other comments that would contribute to the overall design and look of the Web site.

Maps – This issue came up because participants expressed

Participants expressed a need for more up to date and extensive maps that detailed City facilities, parks, golf courses and their location.

a need for more up to date and extensive maps that detailed City facilities, parks and golf courses.

Marketing Services – This category grouped together the comments by participants who were surprised by services listed on the survey of which they weren’t aware.

Meeting/Hearing Information – There was a large amount of participants who wanted minutes, transcripts, locations and other valuable information related to meetings and hearings conducted by the City.

Navigation – A large number of comments called for more ease of navigation with ideas like an overarching navbar, breadcrumb type system to provide easy return and short cuts to frequently used features.

Neighborhood Information – This category reflected a need for neighborhood information including crime statistics, zoning and future development.

Online Registration and Reservation – Participants expressed their need for online registration and payment of PARD activities.


Payment Services – In this category, some participants expressed surprise at the ability to pay for certain utilities Areas of Improvement by Number of Mentions 311 Service ................................ 5 ADA ............................................ 5 Business Concerns .................... 6 Charter/Ordinance Information .... 7 City Council Information .............. 18 City Information ........................... 25 Communication Feature .............. 22 Contact Information ..................... 43 Crime Statistics ........................... 19 Design Suggestion ...................... 79 Development ............................... 19 Employment Page ....................... 21 Event Information ........................ 28 GIS Suggestion ........................... 24 Intranet ........................................ 11 Jargon ......................................... 6 Library ......................................... 56 Look and Feel .............................. 84 Maps ............................................ 11 Marketing Services ...................... 12 Meeting/Hearing Information ....... 18 Navigation ................................... 150 Neighborhood Information ........... 23 Registration & Reservation ......... 34 Payment Services ....................... 27 Permitting .................................... 22 Spanish Translation ..................... 3 Traffic Information ........................ 11 Up to Date Information ................ 54 Utilities ......................................... 3 Vendor Services .......................... 8 Video Service .............................. 8 Visitor Information ........................ 35 Weather Service .......................... 5 Web site Address ......................... 6 Web site Search .......................... 154 __________________________________ Table 6

or fines online while others wanted fees removed and the process simplified.

Permitting – Some participants expressed a need for more permitting and payment services online.

Traffic Information – The ability to watch traffic cameras or receive more up to date and vivid traffic information was commented on by many.

Up To Date Information – Participants stressed the importance of having all Web site materials up to date.

Utilities – A handful of participants mentioned they had an interest in seeing their energy use.

Vendor Services – Participants expressed dissatisfaction with the current registration system.

Video Service – Many participants discussed on-demand meeting replays, downloads of Channel 6 meeting broadcasts and short videos of animals up for adoption.

Visitor Information – City transportation and event information for people who may be considering a move to Austin.

Weather Service – Some participants asked for a weather forecast on the City of Austin Web site homepage.


Recommendations include being able to e-mail jobs to friends and navigating freely around the site without specific issues.

Web Site Address – Many believed the address should change to something like Austin.gov or cityofaustin.gov.

Web Site Search – A large number of participants wrote about their dissatisfaction with the current search on the City of Austin Web site.

Question 13 If the City of Austin offered it, would you be interested in creating an account that required you to register and provided customization to such options as news, information, account services, etc.?

Would you be interested in creating account?

Survey respondents were split on whether they would be interested in setting up a customized account on the City Web site that would require registration, with 44 percent saying they

“Yes”:

44.0 percent

“No”:

56.0 percent

would utilize such a feature. (See Table 7.)

_________________________________ Table 7

Question 14 How comfortable are you with filling out forms? Only 16 percent are uncomfortable filling out online forms, with 84 percent being moderately or very comfortable filling out

How comfortable are you with filling

forms. (See Table 8.)

out forms? Moderately comfortable:

64.0%

Very comfortable:

20.0%

Not comfortable:

16%

_________________________________

Question 15 What is the main thing that would keep you from filling out an online registration form at a Web site? Thirty-three percent said that accessing the City site was not worth revealing the requested information, 17 percent said that

Table 8

filling out the form would take too much time and 14 percent said they did not trust entities requesting their information. (See Graph 9.)


Do you sometimes access the Internet

Question 16

using a mobile device (Cellphone,

Do you sometimes access the Internet using a mobile device

PDA)?

(Cellphone, PDA)?

No:

Thirty-three percent access the internet using a mobile device.

67.0%

Yes: 33.0%

(See Table 9.)

________________________________ Table 9

Question 17 Choose one of the following options that best describe you as a City of Austin Web site user. Sixty percent of respondents described themselves as City of Austin residents; 28 percent described themselves as City of Austin employees. (See Graph 10.)

Question 18 Please enter the five digit ZIP code where your primary residence is located. Graph 9

Most survey respondents were from the 78704 and 78745 ZIP codes, with most respondents living in north central and south central parts of Austin. (See Image 1.)

Question 19 What is your age? Respondents to the survey reflected an older demographic, with 35 percent age 40 to 55, 28 percent age 31 to 40 and 20 percent age 19 to 30. Thirteen percent were older than age 55. (See Graph 11.)

Image 1


Question 20: What gender group do you

Question 20

identify with?

What gender group do you identify with?

Female .......................... 52 percent

Fifty-two percent of survey respondents were female; 44

Male .............................. 44 percent

percent were male. Four percent did not answer the question.

Did not answer .............

(See Table 10.)

4 percent

__________________________________ Table 10

Question 21 Please indicate your ethnicity. Caucasian/white respondents dominated the survey at 70 percent. Hispanics made up 11 percent, African-Americans 5 percent and Asian/Pacific Islanders made up 4 percent. Seven percent refused to provide ethnicity. (See Graph 12.)

Question 22 Please indicate your current household income in U.S. dollars. Thirty-four percent of respondents earned more than $75,000 Graph 10

in total household income; 13 percent made $55,001 to $75,000 and 13 percent made $39,001 to 55,000. Twentythree percent did not provide income information. (See Graph 13.)

Question 23 Please indicate the highest grade of education you have completed. Forty-three percent of respondents had a bachelor’s degree, 30 percent had a graduate degree and 16 percent had some college education. Five percent did not provide and answer, Graph 11

and 4 percent had a high school degree. (See Graph 14)


Question 24 Other than English, which language(s) do you speak regularly (i.e. 10 percent or more of the time at home or for work)? Languages spoken by the top number of respondents included Spanish, with small numbers of German, Chinese, Vietnamese and French speakers indicating they spoke these languages frequently at home or at work. Graph 12 Question 25 Do you have any physical disability or impairment? About 7 percent of respondents had some sort of physical disability. (See Graph 15.)

Question 26 If you have a disability or impairment, how easy is it for you to use the City of Austin site? Among disabled respondents, 73 percent found the City Web site “easy” or “very easy” to use. Seventeen percent found it Graph 13

Graph 14

“difficult” or “very difficult” to use. (Q26)


Appendix 2: Town Hall comments/ suggestions

Given the more open-ended and dynamic nature of the Town Halls, responses were gathered and isolated into discrete suggestions. These suggestions were then analyzed and classified according to the service area they pertained to and Graph 15

also whether the suggestion was a design content technology services or some combination thereof of those improvements.

Suggestions/improvements classified by service area Global • Post on Austingo web site whenever presenting to Council, Boards and Commissions, etc. • Make site safe from spammers or harvesters that collect email addresses. Graph 16

• More interchange between COA and APD and AE sites, for example, to help with coordination. • Documents need to be more consistent – large documents need abstracts. • Teach writing for the web for accessibility to all departments. • Date all documents and include contact info. • Incorporate all UT shuttle and bus maps. • Separate City events from community events. • Keep Government site separate so it does not promote outside interests. • Make an easy to use local directory – like the White/

Graph 17

Yellow pages.


• Language translations on demand. • Site map that works and is easy to find. • Make the URL a “.gov”. • Have a section for “most popular searches.” • Make Advanced Search easier to use. • Use microformats. • Central calendar that can be filtered. Graph 18

• Make site customizable, like iGoogle. • Place a more prominent 311 link on the homepage. • Utilize flexible RSS format on the new site.

Utilize flexible RSS format on the new site.

• Offer ample Spanish language documents and pages on the new site. • Integrate a more powerful, sophisticated content search tool that will allow users to conduct keyword searches within the framework of HTML and other types of documents. • Generate a way the user can create a personal profile to set preferences of specific City services, departments, etc. • Automatically send e-mails to notify the user when his/her preset City or neighborhood activity or event will occur. • Have quick links to other local and state agencies such as Capital Metro and AISD, • Incorporate 311 as a “Web front” making it more prominent. • Change and simplify the City’s current e-mail address. • Caption video for the deaf. • Consider a live chat feature that would help people find information they are looking for. • Avoid jargon, use language that people understand. • Utilize digital signatures for online forms. • Utilize single sign on for different Web features.


• Create a “New to Austin” page for people who have just moved here.

Every page on the Web site should be linkable

• Every page on the Web site should be linkable. • There should be multilanguage support. • There should be the ability to chat with City representatives online. • There should be the ability to have Web conferences online, to provide feedback electronically. • There should be the ability to personalize user setup and show pages based on people’s preferences. • Community capability for those who are new to the City. • Integrate the site with outside governmental entities. • Create resources for bike maps and sidewalk trails online. • Improve the City’s online search function. • Decrease the number of “clicks” needed to get to information.

CITY CLERK • Archive Boards and Commissions meetings. • E-mail Boards and Commissions meetings notices and agendas. • Wrong URLs on printed materials (example: Boards and Commissions notices). • Post all backup information and materials for Planning Commission. • Boards and Commissions meetings to use RSS feeds • Video on demand of Council meetings.

Post subcommittee agendas

• Make contacts for boards and commissions available and easy to find. • Post subcommittee agendas. • Post backup material for planning commissions.


COUNCIL/GOVERNMENT • Show clear structure of government. • A lot of info on how our local government works.

Use more e-mail for notifications and meeting announcements.

• Two-way communication vehicle to build bond between citizenry and City. • Keep public informed and maintain emphasis on citizens • Archive Council meetings. • Have all City meetings on one online calendar. • Post all City Council calendar meetings and events on the Council pages. • Use more e-mail for notifications and meeting announcements. • Make sure all City ordinances drafts are posted in advance. • Make place for users to comment on drafts of ordinances. • Have more places for users to interact with the Government.

COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE • Post all Open Records requests online and keep a running list of them that is searchable.

DEVELOPMENT • Notices are sent out to look up information on permits, but info is not there. • Code, permits, and legislation is very hard to find. • Send out more email notifications about zoning and code changes. • If you are not the person developing a project, you can’t register to see all the information about a project. • RSS Feeds for permits.


• Improve GIS and make easier to use. • Create an advanced notification system for new developments. • Display all codes and regulations by inputting a property

Update the GIS site

address. • Update the GIS site.

ENVIRONMENT • Make environmental and resource information and design more available to public so it is easy to see how the City impacts the environment.

HEALTH • On the Town Lake animal shelter, have more pictures and less text. • Recognition software people working at the shelter can compare the animals already there with what someone comes in to file.

LIBRARY • More and better information from the Austin History Center – especially pictures.

NEIGHBORHOODS • Two-way communication vehicle to build bond between citizenry and City. • Allow Neighborhood groups to communicate amongst themselves and with City to provide linkages and increased information to all (example: recent crime stats). • Make neighborhood association information available online.


Police monitor site more prominent

OFFICE OF POLICE MONITOR • Police monitor site more prominent.

POLICE Area Commanders contact info must be very easy to find on APD pages • Make available all SOPs for APD. • List all tickets that are given out.

Suggestions/improvements classified by focus area Total suggestions: 74

New business practice suggested: 26 New business practice suggested only: 9

New content suggested: 41 New content mentioned only: 18

Design improvement suggested: 5 Design improvement suggested only: 1

New service suggested: 2

New technology suggested: 39 New technology suggested only: 9

Services/Technology: 3

Content/Technology: 14

Biz Practices/Technology: 11


Biz Practices/Content: 4

Content/Design: 4

Currently available: 1

Graph 19: Suggestions classified by focus area, with Graph 19 duplicates


Contact Us If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the new site, please contact us:

City of Austin 301 W. 2nd St. Austin, Texas 78741 www.austingo.org


http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/austingo/downloads/austingo_report08