SOMERVILLE – If you use the City of Somerville website somervillema.gov, now’s your chance to help make it better. To kick off the coming full redesign of the site, community members are being asked to take a quick survey. Questions cover how site visitors use the site, features they would like to see and issues with the current site that they would like to see addressed. The survey is available online through Monday, Feb. 2, at somervillema.gov/surveys, and it will also be distributed via the Council on Aging, the Disabilities Commission and the City’s SomerViva immigrant outreach program (details below).
“The City website is our virtual city hall where residents should be able to easily take care of city business like paying bills online, leaving feedback, or quickly finding all the information they need on city programs and events. But to make sure the new website does this well, we need to better understand how our residents and business owners use the site and what their preferences are. We’re hoping most of our website users will take a few minutes for the survey now so that we can build a better website for them to use later,” said Denise Taylor, Director of Communications and Community Engagement.
The survey is the first in a series of opportunities that community members will have to provide feedback for the new website. User-testing sessions will be held throughout the process for all interested, and occasional calls for feedback will be issued via requests on the website and via the City newsletter, social media and other outlets. A talented and motivated group of 13 resident volunteers was also selected for the Somerville Website Inspiration and Feedback Team (SWIFT) in December, and in January SWIFT began actively advising and consulting on the project.
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced in November that the City would undertake a full, user-centered, open-source redesign of the website. In December, the Somerville-based digital agency Velir, which among other services specializes in website design and development, was selected via a competitive process to carry out the first phase of the project: design and site infrastructure. The City and Velir are partnering with Code for Boston to ensure the site provides a good user experience and that all code is open source so that other cities will be able to borrow for free from—and in turn improve on—site features.
Take the City of Somerville Website Survey
• Visit somervillema.gov/surveys (deadline through Monday, Feb. 2)
• Visit the Council on Aging (COA) to take the survey online or on paper:
o Every Thursday and Friday though Jan. 30 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at The TAB Building, 167 Holland St.
o Every Wednesday through Jan. 29 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Ralph & Jenny, 9 New Washington St.
o At the COA breakfast on Monday, Feb. 2 (Call Cindy Hickey, 617-625-6600 x2310, for more information)
• For persons with disabilities, the ADA Coordinator will send the survey to the ADA mailing list or contact Betsy Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-625-6600 x2323
• SomerViva Language Liaisons will be distributing the survey in Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole, for information contact Jhenny Saint-Surin, email@example.com, 617-625-6600 x2622
For more information on the website redesign, visit Somervillema.gov/reboot.