The City of Long Beach's new, more user-friendly website went live Monday morning and Mayor Robert Garcia unveiled its new features Monday afternoon.
As Garcia and fellow city employees pointed out, the new website features simplified navigation compared to the old site, and will include quicker access to common tasks such as paying utility bills, applying for permits and reporting neighborhood issues.
"This is really a website of the future," Garcia said at a press conference Monday afternoon after outlining the site's new features that make for what he called an "exciting design." "I think eventually it really is going to become what it is intended to be, which is a 24 hour online City Hall. You should be able to do everything that you need to do on this website as if you were walking in the building or if you wanted to do it online, that's really the goal of this site."
Other features of the new content management system powering the site include an interactive map of the city that identifies parks, libraries, points of interest and resources to residents, a “LinkLB” feature that sends users email updates regarding topics of interest, access to event and meeting calendars and a design that adapts to mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
The most commonly visited links on the current website, including utility bill payments, applying for permits, news releases, LBTV, and employment opportunities, appear highlighted on the right side of the website. The right tab also features links to which the city wished to draw attention, according to Garcia.
Mayor Garcia explains the features of the new city website. Photo by Keeley Smith.
“With the Internet at nearly everyone’s finger tips on phones and tablets, the website is the City’s front door,” said City Manager Pat West in a statement. “Features like LinkLB, our new e-mail notification system that everyone should sign up for, allows us to offer a wider welcome.”
Link LB allows users to sign up for e-mail updates from Council Districts, the Mayor, City Departments and specific services, according to a release issued by the city this afternoon.
“The City’s new website is extremely customer friendly," Technology and Innovation Commission Chair Robb Korinke said in a statement. "The outstanding design and features of the new website help visitors quickly get the information they want.”
A Google Translate feature will also translate the website's language into the four most commonly used languages in the city: English, Spansih, Khmer and Tagalog. Residents can expect to see more of the city's website in search results as well, as the new CMS system will boost the site's rankings in Google's new search algorithm.
Garcia originally proposed updating the website to create what he saw as a 24-hour digital City Hall in 2011, when he was representing the First District on Long Beach City Council. City Council approved spending $212,486 on the project in February 2013.
The City's website was last updated in 2004.
This story was updated on 06/01/15 at 3:24PM with additional information.