Mayor introduces beta version of site that will replace Syracuse’s 13-year-old online presence
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced that virtual visitors to Syracuse can now test out a new City of Syracuse website. Beginning Monday, August 2, people going to syrgov.net will be able to try out a preview or beta version of the website for Syracuse city government. It’s the first new online presence for the City since 2008.
“Providing quality constituent engagement and response is one of our highest priorities. When we launch the new city website, we will be able to improve service and responsiveness to city residents and deliver a quality online experience to visitors from anywhere in the world,” said Mayor Walsh.
Visitors to syrgov.net can click on a banner along the top of the main page which will take them to a development version of the new site, beta.syrgov.net. They will see a new home page and have the opportunity to click on featured top services which are the top nine most commonly accessed sections of the City’s current website, including registering for Parks programs, requesting services via CityLine, finding a job with city government, and paying a parking ticket.
“The City’s current website is 13 years old, and it no longer meets the needs of residents or our community. Replacing it has been a massive undertaking over the past three years involving every department of city government. We’ve conducted testing and collected public input along the way. The beta site is the next step in allowing online users the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new web presence and to gather public feedback,” said Mayor Walsh.
The site is in a development stage and is actively being worked on by several content publishers from city departments, as well as the City’s website development partner, Granicus (formerly Open Cities). The City and the project team are in the process of transferring, rewriting, and retiring more than 6,600 pages of existing content on the current website. Through the search functions, visitors may see pages that are being rewritten to meet the new format, ADA compliance standards, and communications standards. A fully-functioning version of the current website will continue to be supported at syrgov.net.
“What the City has been able to accomplish is remarkable having started this work prior to the pandemic and continuing the work to ensure the City accomplished its goal of better serving the residents of Syracuse,” said Luke Norris, vice president of platform and digital transformation, Granicus. “Syracuse’s communications staff embraced new approaches to building a better website – the impact of that will be lasting in the community.”
Users will notice a change not just in design but in how information is organized. The site is prioritizing self-service functions and modules over static information by featuring services prominently. The primary content menu for the new site is now organized in five key areas: government, living, business, visiting, and services. The website also features a state-of-the-art predictive search bar that allows users to more easily find the content or service they are seeking when visiting the site.
The beta site also includes multiple sections that are not yet active, including a “What’s Near Me” map that will allow users to enter their address and get location-based information on their yard waste pickup date, Common Council representative, and information about city infrastructure work happening in their area. That system is expected to launch later this year.
Visitors to the site are encouraged to leave feedback on the site by completing a survey available on the front page. The website redesign team is seeking feedback on site design, layout, navigation and usability. The survey is also viewable at beta.syrgov.net/initiatives/new-website. The launch of the new website is expected this fall.