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Friday Document Drop: 'Austin Open Government Online'

BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 18 2011

A heavy chunk of research the City of Austin commissioned as part of its website redesign process went online late last month in the form of a report to a committee of the city's legislature.

The city of Austin has been quietly churning away on a new web for about a year with the help of a volunteer group called OpenAustin, a group of technologists collaborating with the city to revamp its use of technology.

Published as a linked set of PDFs, the city of Austin's website redesign research is obviously specific to the well-known music and technology hub. That said, it could be taken as an example of what to think about when reworking a municipal site. Austin's research firm, SteelSMBology, identifies several profiles of residents, businesspeople, and tourists using the site for purposes ranging from finding out about entertainment to checking out books from the city's library. It identifies use cases and includes a mock-up of how a new version of the city's website might look.

A lot of this kind of information is pretty self-explanatory — of course older Austin residents on the city site would want to find information about benefits, for example — and the audiences and their needs will vary from city to city. But in the spirit of pointing out how cities who know from technology are revamping municipal infrastructure — and delivering some red meat for people who want to know what citizens think about a proposed layout for a municipal website — the whole report is attached.

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