Website Design Criteria
We are committed to making our website the best that it can be. That means looking to see how other organizations evaluate websites and their criteria in doing so. Listed below is the WAES (Website Attribute Evaluation System) criteria for evaluating websites. Within each section are examples of how we are trying to meet their criteria.
|a. agency's involvement with the site||Tests if agency helped in making of website and how different it is from websites of other agencies in same government.|
|b. provides different webmaster within the agency from main page (check 2 departments: .5 for each)||Tests if agency, or sub-agency, has some measure of control or direct contact in regard to their website. For example, does the Clerk's office have a difference webmaster than the local government's overall web site?|
|c. provides obvious tailoring indicating agency itself has ownership of site content||Tests how much agency is involved with content of its website.|
|d. domain name||Tests the domain name and whether it is representative of the site. For example, http://www.twp.ypsilanti.mi.us/|
|The following pages show our commitment to the
(a), (c) Site Use Policy talks about our involvement/ownership. Other areas demonstrate our ownership such as our Parking Ticket Payment System (in progress). Payments will be made on a secure server and a secure certificate owned by the city.
(b) every department's section has a "Contact Us" button on every page of its section at the top examples: Building section, Clerk section, Finance & Administration section (click on the Contact Us button at the top to get in touch with that department's webmaster)
|a. provides central agency non-email address||Tests if agency can be contacted by regular, non-electronic mail.|
|b. provides email address to webmaster and/or person responsible for content for site||Tests if agency provides e-mail address for webmaster or content provider for the Web site.|
|c. provides email address to someone inside the agency in addition to webmaster within the agency (e.g., employee or manager)||Tests if agency provides e-mail address for another person (other than the webmaster).|
|d. provides some kind of address for employees within the agency beyond the top level||Tests if agency provides phone numbers and/or addresses for employees within agency, excluding their managers or any other top level officials.|
important. We provide many options to contact the City via
(a) every page of the website lists our address/phone number under the secondary menu (down the left side of the screen). It is also listed in the signature area (bottom of every page).
(b) every page of our website has a link to the City Webmaster (as well as a link for a Technical Contact) in the signature area (bottom of every page)
(c) Our City Directory has email links to all employees. (Also, we provide Contact Forms for each department.)
(d) City Directory provides comprehensive address information. Street address information is included on Departmental Overview pages.
|a. provides details on senior official's experiences or vision of the future for the organization||Tests if agency provides any information about/by/for head official of agency.|
|b. provides mission statement and various activities of the agency||Tests if agency provides any data as to what function it serves, what it's goals and values are, and how it accomplishes these goals.|
|c. provides other issue-related addresses for other government agencies||Tests if agency provides addresses (URL or regular mail) of other government agencies (or within agency itself) whose function is related to this agency.|
|d. provides non-issue related addresses for other government agencies||Tests if agency provides addresses (URL or regular mail addresses) of any other government agencies (or within agency itself) that are not related to agency at all.|
|e. provides issue related addresses for other NON-governmental information sources||Tests for same as 3c, but address must be for a non-government source.|
|f. provides organizational structure in graphic form||Tests if agency provides an organizational graphic (such as a flow chart).|
|g. provides reports, research, laws and regulations in easily readable format||Tests if agency has taken time to provides an easily readable, organized, format for reports, research, laws and regulations.|
Mayor and Council page and
City Manager pages list experience of senior officials.
(b) Main Mission Statement appears on Government Overview page. Various departmental Mission Statements also appear within their sections, for example, Parks and Recreation, Public Works. Consolidated Mission Statement page resides in Reference Desk section.
(c), (d), (e) Links page
(g) General Fund Budget section (provides archive of budget information in easy to read tables/charts), Financial Reports (made available in .pdf format with bookmarks for easy access to information, Code of Ordinances link, and Local Government Finance 101 are some examples for this section.
|a. provides text of regulations/laws/agency research or in depth explanations (all 1 pt, some .5) of requirements imposed on citizens resulting from agency activities||Tests if agency provides any data on regulations, laws, or research which agency carries out or is related to agency.|
|b. provides instructions on how to complete these actions||An extension of previous attribute, tests if agency provides citizens with instructions, help, tips on how meet requirements, regulations or laws imposed by agency such as providing instructions on how to file a tax form.|
|c. provides downloadable forms||Tests if user can easily download any forms needed/required by agency for compliance with certain laws/regulations.|
|d. provides appeal process for decisions or address of an ombudsman||Tests if agency provides -- online -- instructions and/or a way for citizens to appeal agency decisions.|
(b) Comprehensive Form/Permits page provides descriptions and additional links to related information. In addition, our commitment is to provide links within the forms (available in .pdf format) to related information/instructions. Some examples of forms that have links already are the Application to Serve on a Board or Commission, Absentee Ballot Application. In addition, our commitment is to provide additional notations on forms that may need further clarification, for example, the Parking Ticket Dismissal Request Form now indicates where to mail/deliver the form.
(c) All forms and permits are consolidated into one Forms and Permits page. Where applicable, there are links TO the forms and permits page (i.e., Public Works pages have a button at the top "Forms Available for this section"). In addition, our Help page gives less experienced viewers information on printing/downloading forms and content
(d) Appeals page consolidates appeal processes.
|a. notes the latest published "last updated" date on the main page, or a key subordinate page||Tests the extent to which website is actively attended to by organization staff.|
|b. has been updated within the last six months||Tests the currency of the website. Does not include regular updates to top official's speeches as press releases.|
|(a), (b) In addition to daily updating of website, a monthly tune up is performed looking for broken hyperlinks, checking search functionality, checking for outdated events, checking for Accessibility compliance, etc. Some examples of pages updated frequently, if not daily, are the Boards and Commissions Member Listing, and Agendas/Minutes page.|
|a. provides clickable email link to webmaster or content manager within the agency on main page||Tests if e-mail link to webmaster is posted on the main page is (a mailto link).|
|b. provides clickable email link to senior agency official||Tests if the e-mail link to any senior officials is clickable.|
|c. provides dialog box or online form for communication to the webmaster within the agency||Tests if a dialogue box or online form is available to make contact with the webmaster (typically used when the direct e-mail to webmaster is not used).|
(a) City Webmaster link
on Home Page as well as every page of the website (in the
(c) Both Email link to Webmaster and Website feedback form available in signature area of every page on website. In addition, a contact form is provided on the City Directory page in the event that someone still is unsure who to contact.
|a. provides clickable email link to someone inside the agency in addition to webmaster within the agency||Tests if the e-mail link to another person within agency is clickable.|
|b. provides clickable email link to a number of agency employees||Tests if agency provides e-mail links to a large portion of its employees (check for 2/3).|
|c. provides an online issue related forum for outsider participation such as chat lines and distributed email lists||Tests if agency provides a chat line or list serv for citizens, agency employees and other interested individuals to discuss topics related to agency.|
(c) City currently has four List Servs available for communication with citizens.
|a. provides clickable, easy to download mission statement and various activities or services of agency||Tests if appeals process provided is and easy to use.|
|b. provides clickable link to other issue-related government addresses||Tests if addresses provided are clickable.|
|c. provides clickable link to outside NON-issue-related government addresses||Tests if addresses provided are clickable.|
|d. provides clickable link to issue-related NON-governmental information sources||Tests if addresses provided are clickable.|
|e. provides an agency newsletter with subscription information||Tests if agency has a newsletter, either hard copy or email, which user can subscribe to which provides up to date information about agency and its activities.|
|f. provides an index for the site||Tests if the Website offers a site map to support navigation.|
|g. provides a search engine for the site||Tests if the Website offers a functional search engine (for the contents on that site, not for the external Internet).|
(b), (c), (d). Links are consolidated into one Links page.
(f) Site Map page supports the navigation. In addition, our Help page touches upon navigation, printing information as well as other items to help first time visitors. There is a Site Map and Help button available on every page of our website.
(g) We provide Advanced Search functionality which includes a spell check, synonym definitions, contextual results and includes hits within MSWord and PDF documents. Searching is also customizable. You can choose to search the entire website, just the agendas/minutes, or the website without the agendas/minutes.
|a. provides clickable link to listed subdivisions within the agency from the main page||Tests if subdivisions within agency have a link made to them from main page.|
|b. provides clickable link to sublevels noted in the agency's organization||Tests if sublevels within agency have a link made to them from main page.|
|c. provides clickable link to download text of regulations / laws / agency research or in-depth explanations of requirements imposed on citizens resulting from agency activities||Tests if agency provides clickable link to any data on regulations, laws, or research which agency carries out or is related to agency.|
|d. provides an automatic response limit for response to online submissions (how long it will take to get a response from the agency)||This attribute notes if agency tells user how long it will take until he/she receives a response from agency (good pract is 48-72 hour response).|
|e. provides clickable link to appeal process for decisions and / or ombudsman||Tests if appeals process provided is and easy to use.|
|f. provides text only version||Tests if site provides a text only version to support accessibility to content for users who do not want the delay of graphics or for users who read the Web site's content with a text reader machine for the visually impaired.|
|g. provides ADA compliant access to site (Sec. 508 compatible)||Tests extent to which site is accessible to disabled users.|
Persistent navigation means there's a button to the Primary
Level buttons (including Services section) on every page of our
(e) Appeals page.
(f) Skip navigation links are present in every page of website, which is the preferred equivalent of "Text only version". It allows disabled persons using a web page reader to skip repetitive navigation links and get to the beginning of the content.
(g) Our website is currently Bobby Level 1 compliant.
|a. how early the website emerged||Tests if Web site existed on or before 1999 (cyber-state.org's first WAES assessment period).|
|b. presence of strategic plan||Tests if the site provides a strategic plan for the local government and/or its web presence.|
|c. presence of technology plan||Tests if the site provides a technology plan for the local government and/or its web presence.|
|d. design (0.2 each)|
|1. Background does not interfere with readability||Tests to ensure the background is clear and non- disruptive of text; should avoid heavy graphic patterns and dark colored background (dark background requires light colored text; when printing light colored text reduces its readability).|
|2. Graphics don't slow down loading time||Tests to ensure the Website and its respective pages load in a timely fashion (20 - 30 seconds).|
|3. Font size and style are readable||Tests to ensure the font size and style is readable (using standard 10-12 point font size and common styles such as Arial or Times New Roman).|
|4. Link color choices are readable||Tests the link colors to make sure they are not too light in color or too disruptive in color, while also being intuitively a "link."|
|5. Title is indicative of page content||Tests the home page and at least 2 other pages on the site to match content with the title of the page and the title that appears in the Web browser.|
(b) Strategic Plan (in progress)