New City Website to Be Unveiled Tuesday

City Hall as seen in 2011 / Matthew Trevithick
City Hall as seen in November 2011 / Matthew Trevithick

For over a year, city staff members have been hard at work on a new website. The goal: to replace the outdated and user-unfriendly site that has been the worlds gateway to London for many years.

On Tuesday (Sept 24, 2013), Londoners will get their first look at the finished product.

The old website was designed primarily for use by people within City Hall, and wasn’t the most welcome to citizens, according to the City’s Chief Technology Officer Joseph Edward.

The new website development started last September (2012) and resulted in city staff learning their way around newer software called SharePoint (from Microsoft), with the help from Toronto firm Infusion, which was hired on as a project consultant for $340,000. The firm helped train staff and aid the city with design and infrastructure.

The predecessor to SharePoint, Microsoft’s FrontPage, was previously used to update and design the old website, but it has been unsupported since 2003.

The revamp also makes it possible for people in many city departments to keep the website up to date and add content. Before, the website was primarily operated by the Communications department.

Two hurdles in the development process, which Edward cited as primary reasons for the year-long time-frame, included the learning curve of the new software (about 140 people from different departments were trained on how to use SharePoint to keep it updated), and the cleaning up and migration of the staggering number of documents left over from the old website.

According to Edward, the new website was developed by city staff from the Tech Services and Communications departments, adding that SharePoint was selected because of its use in developing future solutions for record management, collaboration, and workflows.

The cost to hire Infusion ran about $340,000 but was paid for with savings from other IT investments, licenses and contracts. Edward says to revamp the website, no new money was asked for from the city.

The website will be unveiled Tuesday at the Corporate Services Committee at City Hall.

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