September 29, 2013
Overhaul of Nation’s Largest Municipal Website Is Based on Traffic Analytics and Public Input, Provides New Mobile Functionality
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched a new version of NYC.gov, the City’s official website, which has been overhauled to make it more usable, intuitive and accessible than ever before. The site, which serves more than 35 million unique visitors per year and gets more than 250 million page views annually, has not been redesigned since 2003. Major improvements were made both to the site’s design and to its back-end technology infrastructure. The new site design is user-centric and easily navigated via an intuitive, data-informed interface. From the new homepage, users can find important alerts, watch a Mayoral announcement live, make a 311 service request, get customized information about their neighborhood and discover new events and programs. In addition, the website makes it easier to access information about services, connect with social media channels, download mobile apps and apply for a job with the City. As part of the overhaul, NYC.gov’s search functionality was also significantly improved. Reflecting a data-driven approach, the most commonly requested information is displayed prominently on the site, including daily items like alternate side parking, trash collection and school status. In addition, the website is fully responsive, making it easy to use whether the user is accessing with a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet. The website is accessible in over 100 languages and surpasses ADA requirements to serve all New Yorkers. The Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment completed the redesign in partnership with Brooklyn-based design firm HUGE, Inc., who was selected through a competitive process.
“NYC.gov is more than just a website – it’s how New Yorkers get information in the 21st Century,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Throughout our Administration, we’ve taken major steps to bring government and New Yorkers closer together. The new NYC.gov is the latest in our efforts to use technology to make it easier than ever before for New Yorkers to get information, request services and find out what’s happening in their city.”
“Technology is at the center of virtually every City service, and for many New Yorkers nyc.gov is where the service experience begins,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “Whether it ends with a satisfied customer depends on our ability to give and receive accurate information to help New Yorkers get what they need, deploy City services effectively, and do it all in a way that keeps people engaged and coming back for more. More New Yorkers will be visiting the new nyc.gov and everything it has to offer than ever before.”
“NYC.gov receives more visitors each year than the combined populations of America’s 10 largest cities," said Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul Merchant. “With its intuitive data-driven design and enhanced platform, the new website demonstrates the City’s ongoing commitment to making technology work for millions of people. A tremendous team effort went into this relaunch. We have updated the visual design, navigation, and functionality, while modernizing the back-end infrastructure to support future growth. With the new NYC.gov, City information and services are easier to find and faster to access than ever.”
“NYC.gov is a crucial platform for interaction between New Yorkers and City government,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver. “Easier to use than ever before, the new NYC.gov provides New Yorkers with the information we know they are looking for, and ways to get the services they want and need. Relaunching the site was a major component of Mayor Bloomberg’s Digital Roadmap, which positions New York City as a leading digital and innovative city.”
“A leading digital city demands a powerful digital platform to serve and inform its constituents. The new, reimagined NYC.gov puts New Yorkers front and center, delivering unparalleled customer service, usability and accessibility whether you are on a computer or mobile phone. From top requested information based on real-time analytics to improved search functionality, users will find exactly what they are looking for, faster and more easily than ever before,” said Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer. “Today’s launch represents an important milestone in Mayor Bloomberg’s Digital Roadmap, and reflects his visionary leadership for New York City’s innovative future. It is the result of hard work by dozens of individuals, and I am grateful to Commissioner Katherine Oliver, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway, Commissioner Rahul Merchant, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and Brooklyn-based design firm HUGE for their leadership, support and partnership.”
“Redesigning NYC.gov was an incredible honor and responsibility for us. Our team wanted to create an experience that was not only worthy of the best city in the world, but one that would make life easier for the 8 million people who make this city so amazing,” said Michal Pasternak, Chief Experience Officer at Huge. “New York City has already made great strides to bring more effective and transparent government to its citizens and we are proud to have been a part of furthering that effort.”
In July 2011, the City partnered with General Assembly to host its ﬁrst ofﬁcial hackathon, welcoming over 100 participants to collaboratively build prototypes that will guide the future development of NYC.gov, the public’s primary digital gateway to City government. The event, titled Reinvent NYC.gov, was supported by access to leading technology APIs and City data, and participants generated 14 proposals for the upcoming redesign of NYC.gov. A panel of judges from the public and private sectors, including Meetup’s Chief Executive Ofﬁcer Scott Heiferman, General Assembly’s Mimi Chun and David Tisch, selected ﬁve winners based on innovation, usability, social integration, location technology and ingenuity. The Reinvent NYC.gov Hackathon, one of the ﬁrst of its kind in government, established an effective template for sparking innovation, accelerating development and encouraging greater civic collaboration. Winning hackathon designs were included as references in the City's official Request for Proposals for the design update of NYC.gov. After a competitive bid process, HUGE Inc. was selected to redesign the website.
HUGE began the project with focused research, including speaking with New Yorkers about how they interact with government in general and the site specifically, reviewing the content and behavior analytics on the existing NYC.gov, reviewing other city and government websites and speaking to the many stakeholders and constituencies within City government. They aimed to create a true resource for New Yorkers and an experience that enables users to quickly and easily complete simple tasks and get questions answered. They also aimed to create a platform for the Mayor and the City to share the initiatives they are doing in more compelling ways. Their team worked on the content strategy and information architecture, as well as design concepts. They built interactive prototypes and tested the site with New Yorkers before launching.To enact this new stream-lined customer-oriented mandate, Amanda Konstam, Deputy Director of Public Affairs, has been appointed Chief Content Editor of the redesign.