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Baltimore's website gets new look, overhaul

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Visitors to Baltimore’s website will find a new sleek look in a design that’s also supposed to help the public find answers to their questions more easily.

The new site, baltimorecity.gov, cost about $168,000 so far, said Kevin Harris, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The new home page went live earlier this month.

The city is authorized to spend up to $286,000 as the web team, Interpersonal Frequency LLC, works over the next several months to finish the overhaul, which also involves websites for city agencies. The New York-based company is expected to finish the redesign by the end of the year, at which time Harris said the city will evaluate and determine whether any more work is needed.

“The mayor’s office was looking for ways to improve the efficiency and communication,” Harris said. A survey by Interpersonal Frequency found that a large majority of visitors to the website reported an “unsatisfactory experience.”

“They were trying to do basic things like pay for a ticket and find out information about services, and it was too difficult,” Harris said. “The mayor asked us to take a look to see if there was anything we could do to improve service.”

The home page greets visitors with an explainer about the redesign, saying that survey, web analytics and research have charted the course for a new site with “less clutter and clearer language.” The new site also is designed to “flow seamlessly from desktop computers to mobile devices.”

Among the highlights is a new event calendar that lets user tailor their search, an improved social media component and a “How Do I?” section that attempts to provide quick answers to common questions.

A former chief technology officer for the city began a redesign of the website in 2012, but the job was never completed. The site’s main page was overhauled, but the agency pages weren’t.

ywenger@baltsun.com

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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