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Site Features

See this page for more about this site including its features.

Communication from the Town of Cobourg to its citizens and their return feedback is increasingly dependent on internet media – not only facebook and twitter etc but also a quality web site.  Today, Cobourg launched a new web site and immediate impressions are positive although it is a bit overwhelming because of the large amount of content.  It is certainly more attractive and is “responsive” – that is, works well on phones and tablets.

You can reach the site with the same URL www.cobourg.ca but it looks quite different.  It’s also quite complex with several navigation menus:

Main menu:

  • My Cobourg
  • Recreation and Culture
  • Business and Development
  • Town Hall. 

Website LaunchEach one of these leads to many sub-items – you can access the entire site via this menu and its sub-items.  This main navigation menu appears on every page.

If you ever want to go back to the “Home” page, like many sites, simply click the town logo at top left.

Then there are other navigation menus that provide direct links to many of the pages in the main menu.

Next navigation row. 

Apply, Pay and Learn all go to the same page.  

  • Apply is for:   Birth Registration,  Death Registration,  Marriage Licence, Freedom of Information Request.
  • Pay is for: Taxes, Parking tickets.
  • Learn is information on:  Council, Budget.  
  • Report goes to the Report it page where you can “Request a Service” concerning a downed sign or snow clearing and much more.
  • Visit – links to the current, unchanged Tourism site.

Next Navigation Row.

This includes links to separate pages for:

  • Cobourg 2017 – dedicated section for the 2017 celebration project
  • Cobourg Community Centre – section that’s contains content that was on the separate Community Centre site
  • DBIA – replaces the DBIA site with similar information.
  • Invest in Cobourg  - replaces economic development site – refreshed and comprehensive
  • Fire – section for the Fire Department
  • Library - -new content that replaces the library site
  • Marina – new section for the Marina

The Cobourg police web site remains separate.

News

The home page includes a group of images related to news items plus some videos – sensibly hosted on You-Tube.  The texts from the news items are repeated in a ticker at the very top of every page.

At the top of some pages are relevant photos in a slide show format.

At the bottom of many pages are three boxes with a Facebook feed, Twitter feed and a new calendar.

Just above the footer on every page is another menu.

Bottom Menu

  • Get Involved
  • Stay Informed
  • News Centre
  • Attend an Event – separate calendar to Tourism calendar
  • Locate a Facility
  • Contact Us

Below that on every page is the A-Z Listing which is an index to every page.

The footer menu accesses pages for:  Accessibility; Freedom of Information; Contact Us; Jobs; Feedback; Sitemap;  I.C.E. – some of these are also accessed via other menus.

Requesting information FROM the town is distributed – that is, is dependent on what you want to know about.  It works much like the system on Cobourg Internet but instead of being Posts on the NEWS page triggering an email, it can be any page.  But you have to sign up for the page or pages that you want.  Most pages have a link labelled: Receive Email updates.  Click that, provide your email address and you get an email whenever that page is updated.

You can also sign up to get updates whenever there is a civic web update on specific pages.  For example you can get an email whenever a new agenda is posted for the Committee of the Whole or any other event listed on the Civic Web site. Go here to subscribe for those.

Feedback TO the Town is also not in a single location but depends on what you are concerned about.  For example, to ask for enforcement of a bylaw, you go to the Bylaw Enforcement page.

Another one that might be popular would be the Report it page here.

Calendar

The calendar includes events from multiple departments:

  • Cobourg 2017
  • DBIA
  • Fire
  • Invest in Cobourg
  • Library
  • Marina
  • Recreation and Leisure
  • Town Calendar

Currently, most events are Library events.  There are also links on some pages to the Tourism calendar which is separate – this is confusing.

Special Features

Language You can choose any number of languages – because there are so many, one has to assume it’s an automatic translation – I have no way of knowing how accurate it might be. Go to the top right of every page.

Font size on most pages (but not the home page) you can enlarge or shrink the font size for the main text.

Summary

So far, the site looks good although because there is so much content, some of it will still be hard to find. There are very few broken links – that’s good for a new site of this size – quality is good.  Two-way communication has improved as promised.  For it to continue to be a good, useful site, it will require a lot of updates – probably daily.  I hope that sufficient resources have been allocated to this.

In addition to the public web site, the Town has also launched an Intranet – that’s a collection of pages accessible only to employees.  This will improve communication inside the Town – usually intranets include things like expense forms, Human Resources information, internal announcements etc.

 Addendum - 16 May

There are several things missing from the new site.  The CIVIC plan, Heritage Master Plan and Downtown Master plan were on the old site and comments/input were solicited.  These are now nowhere to be found.

 

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