To get City of Salem Council materials out to you earlier, we're using a new tool for sharing City Council agendas and meeting materials. Beginning with June 6 meeting, to access Council meeting materials, you'll still click on the "Meeting Agendas".The first impression is that this adds layers and makes it more difficult to find and access Staff Reports and other agenda items! It's a little like a Ptolemaic epicycle.
What you'll find is a list of upcoming meetings and links to meeting materials, audio, and video. Those upcoming public hearings, Council work sessions and future agenda items will be featured at the end of the agenda - instead of the beginning. And, you'll still be able to find materials from previous meetings in the old system while we're moving them over to the new.
Internally it might be easier to load and publish Staff Reports - as a "content management system" it might seem to offer advantages, especially for internal city staff.
But as a move for better communications, as it faces outward to the public it looks clunky rather than elegant - an "improvement" only a software engineer would love. While it may be more organized in theory, in practice it is still looks labyrinthine.
There's a new url for the calendar and hopefully this will not complicate searching - or break old links.
a Council agenda.
And you have to click again to find an item's individual listing.
On this third window you can click for the Staff Report, but it doesn't open up in a web browser and instead forces you to open a new piece of software and download the attachment.
|The outline structure in the old style did add useful information|
Earlier this year, the "Communications and Public Engagement Existing Conditions Summary Report" touched on the fact that the current City website is terrible for mobile users. On the one hand, it seems like reading Staff Reports on a mobile device would be a seriously suboptimal experience, and so the City still might find it best to optimize for the desktop experience, even though that seems so last decade already; on the other hand, this new website doesn't look like it has been "tabletized" for mobile users.
It's premature to say altogether that this new system is a success or failure, but here the first impression is deeply mixed.
Have you checked it out? Maybe you're a power user on mobile? Do you see something about it that makes it instead an unambiguous improvement?