Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Excuses Excuses Excuses by Larry Fillmore

Approximately three weeks ago, I could not find the Town Council agenda for the following Tuesday’s meeting.  I called the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, and asked her for the location.  She informed me that the Town had changed the location on the Town website.  I asked her why the website was only partly changed and she informed me that it was because a contract stopped and that the person who was responsible for the website was on vacation that week.
This just highlight the Administration of the Town of Lisbon is in serious trouble.  In my eyes, the first rule of operating a website is to make it accessible to its users.  I believe in the KISS theory.  Keep ISimple Stupid (KISS). A website should always be designed with the Users in mind because it is for their use.  The Town website is not User-friendly; in fact, it is totally confusion by having redundant ways to locate certain items.  I was always taught that redundancy is for saving/backing up data which is NOT the responsibility of the User.  
Simple ways to locate items eliminate confusion for the Users.  Users should be the primary focus when designing a website.  Right now, on the Town website, there are at least two different paths to take to locate the Town Council agendas.  It is much easier to maintain and for the Users when there is one path to locate the Town Council agendas.  Also, if you follow the path of Town Council – Council Agenda & Minutes – Current Tuesday Agenda – Town Council – Agenda it takes you to the current Town Council agenda.  There is absolutely no need for the last two screens because the Town Council agenda should come up when you click on Current Tuesday Agenda.  The User should never have to go beyond that screen.  The current system is a waste of time and money to maintain and confuses Users.
Now if you go Minute and Agendas – Town Council – 2018 – Select the Town Council Agenda you are looking for. This is less friendly to Users.  The administrative staff of the Town has absolutely no concept of what they are doing, in my eyes.  First of all, according to Mrs. Barnes, there is only one individual that can make changes to the website.  I do not believe that I have to explain why this is not acceptable.  Because there are unnecessary screens that Users have to go through and the fact there are two different paths is a clear indication that very little planning when into the design of the website.  Clearly, there is no oversight of this project.
Next, why were the changes implemented without making ALL the necessary changes to the website?  This is another indication of little to no oversight.  The Town Manager works for the Town Council who works for the people; so I ask again where is the oversight.  The Town Council needs to look into the Town website since they are overall responsible.  There needs to cross-training so that the town does not have to rely on just one individual to maintain the website.
The residents of Lisbon deserve better.

Larry Fillmore