City’s Website Sports a New Look

The city’s new website is aimed at providing a more user-friendly presentation and experience for residents. It was launched last week.
The city’s new website is aimed at providing a more user-friendly presentation and experience for residents. It was launched last week.

San Marino’s newly redesigned website was unveiled last week, fulfilling a priority initiative outlined last year by a largely new City Council with a largely new cabinet of City Hall officials.
With the site’s new look, officials hope residents will be more effectively connected with what is happening throughout town and also have an easier time reaching out to the city whenever an issue presents itself.
“This was a priority of the council for a while, that we wanted a website that would be better for engagement,” said Amanda Fowler, assistant to the city manager, who spearheaded the redesign. The site’s address, cityofsanmarino.org, remains the same.
Designed by Revize, a Michigan-based firm that specializes in government sites, San Marino’s online display features a more dynamic homepage that presents city departments, calendar events and informational releases in more obvious graphic formats, as opposed to the docket of (sometimes broken) text-links filling a simple beige backdrop that the city employed through its previous webmaster contractor, CivicPlus.
Fowler said Revize emerged from among 10 vendors, five of whom presented demos to city officials. In addition to offering the “best tools for us” in terms of design options, Fowler said, Revize made the site much easier for city staffers to use as well and built the cost of the redesign into a multiyear contract.
“On the back end, it’s a lot easier for our staff to use,” she said. “We still see updates and enhancements coming. We’re really excited about the vendor. They’re very experienced in government websites, but kind of new to California. It was a long process. It takes a long process not just to migrate everything over [from the previous website], but rethink how it’s ordered.”
More easily accessible features include a public works order tracker and code enforcement forms for residents to file, in addition to portals for residents to submit general comments and add their names to a city weekly briefing or a non-solicitation list.
Revize’s contract with the city is $8,300 per year for the first three years, which includes the site design and modification; starting in year four, it becomes $3,400 per year for maintenance and hosting.
City Manager Marcella Marlowe updated the City Council on the redesign last week, adding that she would prepare a financial report for a future meeting and that the new contract brings a substantial discount to the city from its previous contract. She added that city staff and Revize would be working out kinks in the coming weeks and welcomed suggestions from council members and residents.
“Of course, we know the design will not appeal to everybody — you can’t please everybody — but we hope that the ease of use is very helpful for you,” Marlowe said. “If you have suggestions, please let us know so that we can keep improving it.”

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