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City aims to redesign dated website

The city of Rye is closer to launching a new user-friendly website to replace its current platform after narrowing its vendor pool down to five finalists.

According to City Clerk Carolyn D’Andrea, a member of the project team responsible for managing the website redesign, 19 vendors responded to a request for proposals, which was issued on April 1.

Amongst a pool of candidates that have experience in redesigning websites for private entities and municipal and public websites, D’Andrea said the five frontrunners have backgrounds in crafting government web pages.

The city of Rye is anticipating the launch of a new municipal website to replace its current outdated platform. A vendor to redesign the website is likely to be selected at the end of the summer and is tentatively set to launch on Nov. 1. Photo courtesy ryeny.gov

Two companies have already been interviewed to take on the project and a third is expected to convene with the website redesign team, which is made up of city department heads and the city manager’s office, by the end of this week.

The idea for a new design comes in response to residents complaining about not being able to properly navigate the current ryeny.gov website.

“The issue right now is the current website is no longer user-friendly,” D’Andrea told the Review. “Our office fields many calls per day about how to navigate it, so we’re looking for a vendor that can guide us not only in looks, but also in improving usability.”

The city’s current website was built in 2009. It provides emergency alerts, city documents and forms, offers the ability to pay taxes online, and manages Freedom of Information Law, FOIL, requests.

D’Andrea said the city is aiming to construct a website that is more “neat, clean and professional,” while also managing to keep the cost as low as possible, adding that the plan is to improve functions that are already available on the current platform such as the FOIL request system.

Other improvable areas include constructing a more compatible mobile design, integrating Google Analytics—which tracks and reports website traffic—and producing a functional search engine for website content.

Referring to the cost of the project, City Manager Marcus Serrano said, “We don’t want to sell ourselves short. The priority of the City Council is to upgrade the website with the best possible option.”

The clerk said city officials are expecting the cost for the website revamp to be anywhere from $15,000 to $22,000, based on the top five proposals. Other proposals not in the top five ranged from $40,000 to $50,000 for a complete redesign.

As of press time, the goal is to select a candidate by the end of summer. At the moment, the next scheduled City Council meeting is in September; however, the city clerk said another meeting might be scheduled in August for an official decision.

The website’s tentative launch date is this upcoming Nov. 1.

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