Auckland Council and Auckland Libraries unveil new $5.75 million websites

CCT's digital head Wendy Beban says the existing council website left users confused.
JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

CCT's digital head Wendy Beban says the existing council website left users confused.

Auckland Council and Auckland Libraries have given a sneak preview of their new websites worth $5.75 million.

Council's $3.95m website will have a staggered release over the next three months and Auckland Libraries $1.8m site will go live in September.

The websites aim to make online interaction easier through simpler language, short succinct pages and smarter search engines with a focus on mobile access.

The new website will support the development of online payments, book building inspections, and sort out resource consents online.

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Council's customer centric transformation (CCT) was behind the redevelopment.

CCT's digital head Wendy Beban said the reason for the new websites was that the current software was nearing the end of its life, meaning if it was left as it was it would pose a security risk.

The current websites were created when Auckland Council was amalgamated in 2010, and eight council websites and seven library websites were merged into one website for each organisation.

Council's website had more than 4300 pages and 26000 PDFs making the site clunky and difficult to navigate.

​Beban said the current website was not intuitive and didn't function properly on mobile technology. 

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"Customers are coming into it confused and I'd have to say they're coming out of it even more confused," Beban said. 

​Combined the websites received 15 million views per year, with an average of 40,000 views a day.

In comparison Christchurch Council's website received about 13,000 views a day, Wellington Council had around 7,000 views and Inland Revenue Department had about 60,000 views. 

Auckland Libraries' new website will be stripped right back, and will feature a 'belt of books', showing users new titles and popular reads echoing librarian's recommendations online.

​Beban said the two websites would allow users to log in to pay rates, register dogs and browse the library online without needing duplicate accounts.

More than 10,000 users provided feedback on council's previous website and council will ask for further feedback as it releases the website in three stages. 

The first version of the council website will be available in May, with later releases in July and September. 

The two organisations decided against creating phone apps because it wasn't cost effective.

Council's current website will be retired in October.

 - Stuff.co.nz

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