Website Design for Modern Municipalities

OPenCities releases a new report that benchmarks website basics for cities. Shown is the Bakersfield, Calif., homepage.
Image: Bakersfieldcity.us 2-19-2016

The city of Bakersfield, Calif. has launched a new, full-service website that is customizable for residents, easy-to-use for visitors, and completely interactive with a mobile app.

By Andrea Fox, EfficientGov Senior Editor

The city of Bakersfield, Calif., with a population of about 369,000, has launched a brand new, full-service website that is customizable for residents, easy-to-use for visitors, and complete with a mobile app.

The modern, responsive website design, which reportedly cost <$50,000, can be translated into 90 languages. By registering with the site’s My Bakersfield portal, residents can select their favorite areas and get the latest on what they are most interested in–anything from visitors maps to construction updates. Through the mobile app, users can report service issues like damaged equipment, broken street lights, potholes, and more via photos, video, audio, or e-mail messages.

“What we’re trying to do is provide the information users are coming to expect,” Chris Huot, assistant city manager, told The Bakersfield Californian.

David Hecht, the site’s IT director, said the purpose of the site is more than just access. “I’d like to see it be a resource the community can contribute to as well as consume from,” he said.

One area of the site that may not be state-of-the art, however, is with pending American Disabilities Act compliance requirements. Last year, the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board proposed an update to Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines that may require municipal websites to be accessed by any user. The final rule is still in process.

Not all of city of Bakersfield’s webpages may be fully accessible to disabled users at this time, according to the city, but they would like feedback on how to improve the site for all users.

Read the original story in The Bakersfield Californian.

Learn more about the proposed Federal rule and read public comments on Regulations.gov.

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.