We’re happy to announce that AustinGO – the voice and people behind the successful launch of AustinTexas.gov, the official website for the City of Austin, Texas – is back, with a new look, new features and new plans for the rest of the year and beyond.
Welcome to AustinGO2.0! We apologize for being away for so long, and we appreciate the questions and support regular visitors have given us. We haven’t been inactive during our time away from you – on the contrary, we’re ready to roll out new features and functionality for our visitors and users.
Recently, the project team has focused on the first post-launch development “sprint” – an intensive eight-week cycle where the AustinGO team will work closely with internal and external users, identify needed improvements or fixes and then implement them across the site.
The project team just wrapped up the first sprint a week ago. What new functionality and features can visitors expect to see?
- New departmental navigation – We’ve received a lot of feedback on the navigation from users, and we’ve listened. An expanded departmental navigation structure has been created, and the Planning Department (austintexas.gov/planning) is already using some of the new options. More departments will be using the new navigation soon. We think these new options will break up some of the lengthier program lists and pull high traffic content into shorter lists, making the site easier to navigate overall.
- AustinNotes – The popular email list service will soon be back, with all the lists that were on the old site and some new offerings. In addition, AustinNotes will now support customized email newsletters. Two high use lists, Parks and Housing, will be the first to go live. Users can sign up for newsletters from a single page as before.
- Blogs – AustinTexas.gov now has a fully functional blogging tool, built within our Drupal installation. AustinGO2.0 is the first blog to go live, but the new City Manager's blog and the City’s new vision and values blog should launch soon. Parks and Planning are working on blogs to offer, and the tool will also be adapted and maintained for “non-blog” resources like APD Cold Cases and more.
Along with the new blog, we’re rolling out a new brand for AustinGO2.0 and even a new mascot – the AustinGOBot. The AustinGOBot’s primary role will be as a tipster on the AustinTexas.gov online user guide, which we have published on AustinTexas.gov for everyone to see.
Why make a user guide available for people who will never log in to the AustinTexas.gov Drupal Workbench? We strongly believe in AustinTexas.gov and the work we have done, and we’re very passionate about open source solutions for public sector websites. We’ve already seen interest in our implementation from municipal webmasters and communicators in Texas, and we think interest in the site will grow as more people see it.
Since AustinTexas.gov has been one of the largest implementations of Drupal 7 to date, we want to make our resources – from user guides to the AustinTexas.gov implementation stack itself – available for others to benefit from. For now, only our user guide is available, but we hope soon to have even more information about our implementation online.
When we do – you’ll see it here first.
Thanks for your patience and your support of this initiative. Our commitment to Austin was that we would never allow AustinTexas.gov to become outdated, inefficient or hard to use, and the sprints represent our ongoing commitment to a perpetually-evolving and responsive website that will change and adapt as the needs of our community change and the interactive technology environment.
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