The City of Manteca rolled out a new website Monday in a bid to make it easier to access city information as well as to report issues and make utility payments.
The front page is less cluttered but still eschews the “super clean” boilerplate design where the emphasis is on dominating photos such as the San Joaquin County website as opposed to quickly clicking on accessing most services that residents want.
Why that is important to note is the previous city manager — Elena Reyes — got the council in 2016 after being hired to obtain an outside consultant for $57,000 to redesign the city’s website as well as “rebrand” the city as her plan to attract jobs.
That effort ended with nothing to show for it except Manteca writing a check for $57,000.
This time around current City Manager Tim Ogden entrusted the in-house information and technology staff to do the redesign while handling their day-to-day workload.
The result is a website that is professional looking without being driven by a consultant’s ego. In other words what matters most to what should be the primary target of the website — the city’s 83,700 residents — is quickly and easily accessible. It also quickly directs business and visitors to information that specifically applies to them.
The new page has easy to find quick links that aren’t buried on the bottom of the front page as the county does. Instead they are on display with big, crisp and simple icons quickly identifiable right below the rotating photo banner. There are six icons arguably representing the six top reasons why a Manteca resident would be accessing the website — online bill payment, information on city hall contacts, accessing the Parks & Recreation activity guide without the need to download per se, contacting city departments online (government outreach), city contacts, as well as accessing council agendas and minutes.
Keep in mind not everything as of Monday was up and running. The council agenda and minutes page was inaccessible as where a number of drill-down pages such as information on building report activity. But given it was the first day such hi-cups are expected.
It should be noted great care was taken to have information in type font, size, and spacing that is easy to read and discern. The city contact page, for example, is a vast improvement when it comes to being user friendly.
Likewise, so is the community news and information section. The top item on the logo contest voting now underway takes you to the city manager’s page where you get a quick connection to the Survey Monkey document to cast your logo preference.
The community calendar is easier to read as is the city’s Facebook page feed.
Perhaps even more important is the ability to not just quickly locate where you can download the city app used for reporting issues from your smartphone but also a quick explanation about what it is good for as well as how it capitalizes on GPS features in devices allowing you to send a photo and location of the issue you’re reporting with relative ease.
One last note — Manteca resisted the temptation to make photos and graphics more important than quick access to information and did so without creating a cluttered mess. That’s a huge plus for Manteca residents who aren’t on the website to be dazzled but to get answers or take care of business.
The city’s website is at www.ci.manteca.ca.us