The city of Los Altos unveiled a new website Friday that city officials say will boost their ability to disseminate information to the public.
The new website’s debut comes after nearly a year of research and development that involved every department in the city, according to City Manager Marcia Somers.
Somers noted that the new site includes an emphasis on user-friendly features – such as the ability for users to more easily access content and keep abreast of city events. She added that the website, initially unveiled in beta form at an Aug. 13 Los Altos City Council study session, “provides the flavor and feel of what Los Altos is all about.”
The city’s process in developing the new site included the use of focus groups to gather specific feedback on the website’s aesthetics – including the home-page design – as well as various other aspects. Somers said the city also examined several other municipalities’ websites to gain a better understanding of the content and features needed for the new Los Altos site.
“We probably looked at over 100 websites from other cities to see what worked for them,” said Somers, who added that the new site now allows each city department to manage its own content, versus the centralized internal process previously required.
“It’s one of those things you want to get right the first time,” she continued.
Among a host of new features on the website is an interactive map that pinpoints the locations of current city projects and outlines various details, such as project descriptions, costs and timelines. The site also includes another new feature – a directory that lists the email address and direct phone number of each city staff member.
In addition, Somers noted that residents would be able to submit maintenance service requests and police reports as well as file traffic complaints online. Residents can stay informed about city events by signing up for email notifications – which Somers called “essential” in the city’s ability to communicate about upcoming events “in a more timely manner.”
“It also reduces the staff’s time in terms of, ‘Who needed this, and who needed that?’” Somers said. “That’s something we were doing manually before.”
Somers said the site will continue other features, such as posting the agendas, minutes and audio and video recordings of city council and some commission meetings.
To access the new site, visit losaltosca.gov.