New website for Waterloo

Maneuvering around the original city of Waterloo website used to be time consuming, frustrating and sometimes extremely unhelpful. However, the City of Waterloo is in the midst of updating the site to make it much more user-friendly.
“We do have our current existing website,” said Gary Williams, director of communication and marketing for the City of Waterloo. “We’re undergoing a total redesign of our existing site so we’re asking residents to give their input. We want their input on the existing site; what works, what doesn’t work and then what do they want to see as far as features for our new website.”

With the city’s website, there is a direct link to the survey created in order to help residents provide input on what they’d like to see for the new website. The survey is entitled, “You Have Your Say” and is only three pages long with straightforward questions, most of which merely require simple point and click answers, a few of which require more detail.

“I’m a big believer in e-services,” Williams said. “I don’t think people should have to come to city hall to deal with the city, I think they should be able to do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the comfort of their own homes, via their computer. That’s probably number one on my list – have people be able to access city services online anytime anywhere.”

The city is also hosting focus group sessions from April 23 to April 27, which they hope will provide citizens a further opportunity to give their input into the development of the city’s strategy.

“We do have paper copies of the survey available,” Williams added. “In all of our city facilities as well. That’s also why we’re doing the focus groups, to capture those people that don’t necessarily have access to computers or would rather do a face to face or fill out the paperwork. We’re trying to engage everybody. Not just online users but everybody in the community.”

“Overall,” Williams continued, “We’re looking to improve the organization and search-ability of the information. There’s a lot of information that comes from the city and I just think we need a new way to organize it and have it readily accessible for people looking for it.”

The city also launched a blog a few weeks ago as yet another way to enhance the new site. “We’ve got some really good feedback on the blog,” Williams said.
“We’ve just launched it, […]and we already have some good followers. We have a lot of people tapping in to see what we’re talking about, and we’ve also got some suggestions for blogs.

“The blog is something we launched early just to expand on that information avenue to allow people to have more ways to tap in for more information about the city.”

The city’s website was officially opened in 1997, and was redesigned and re-launched in 2005.“It’s been a few years,” Williams said. “It’s time [to update].”

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