YOUR CITY WEBSITE SUCKS — PART 2: TEMPE, THE LEAST CRAZY PART OF MARICOPA COUNTY

WE NOW CONTINUE OUR SUNSHINE WEEK COVERAGE OF MUNICIPAL WEBSITES AND ONE SURPRISINGLY RELEVANT TO WORCESTER’S INTERESTS: TEMPE, ARIZONA.

WE BELIEVE TEMPE TO BE MOST NOTABLE FOR NOT HAVING NEARLY AS MUCH SNOW AS WORCESTER, AS WELL AS BEING THE CORNERSTONE OF THE ARIZONA FARMING BOOM IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY. BUT WE WORRY ABOUT THEIR UPSIDE-DOWN CITY HALL. WHAT WOULD THIS MEAN IN TERMS OF THE QUALITY OF ITS WEBSITE, EXACTLY? WOULD WE, COMPLETE AND TOTAL NEWCOMERS TO THE CITY OF TEMPE, BE ABLE TO NAVIGATE THEIR WEBSITE? DO THE PEOPLE OF TEMPE BENEFIT FROM BETTER WEB DESIGN?? AND MORE IMPORTANTLY… COULD WE PLEASE JUST TELEPORT SOME SNOW OVER THERE????

METHODOLOGY

FIRST, WE PERFORM A SERIES OF TASKS ONE WOULD TYPICALLY EXPECT FROM A GOVERNMENT WEBSITE. THEN, WE COMPARE THOSE RESULTS TO THAT OF OTHER WEBSITES FROM CITIES OF SIMILAR SIZES ACROSS THE US. THEN WE ASSESS A SERIES OF ARBITRARY PENALTIES BASED ON SUBJECTIVE RAGE INDUCED BY THE PROCESS. WE SCORE LIKE GOLF (OR THE PREFERRED BIZARRO VERSION, FLOGGING); LOWER SCORES == BETTER THAN. IT COULD BE SIMPLER, BUT THEN YOU’D END UP ON A WEBSITE WHERE THE GRAPHIC DESIGNER WENT BOBBING FOR APPLES IN GASOLINE BEFORE MAKING THE ADS. AT LEAST WITH OUR FAUX-BUDGET WORDPRESS SITE YOU GET A SURPRISINGLY READABLE WEBSITE DESPITE OUR BIZARRO CAPITALIZATION AND BASED PRONOUN USAGE.

IN ALL CASES, WE ASSUME CITY HALL STAFF WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO HELP IN PERSON OR VIA PHONE WITH ANY TASKS YOU MIGHT REQUIRE OF THEM, IF FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THAT THEY OTHERWISE HAVE TO DEAL WITH POLITICIANS ALL DAY.

TEMPE, ARIZONA

GENERAL

APPEARANCE

TEMPEWEBSITE

  • OVERALL IMPRESSION: SOOTHING BLUES IN A SEA OF BEIGE, WITH TITLE FONTS BY AN 8-YEAR-OLD KID.
  • MOBILE VERSION: CUSTOMIZED. SUCCINCT BUT SPARTAN.
  • FRONT PAGE HIGHLIGHTS: A PROMINENT MINI-CALENDAR FLANKED BY NEWS HEADLINES AND A GRAB BAG OF “HOT TOPICS” (HAR HAR). EASY-TO-PRESS BUTTONS ABOVE SAID CALENDAR PLAYFULLY WHIZ BY EVERY FEW SECONDS LIKE TUMBLEWEEDS DRAWN BY THE ABOVE 8-YEAR-OLD WITH ENORMOUS BANNERS.

FUNCTIONALITY

(ALL TASKS ATTEMPTED BY FOLLOWING DIRECT LINKS FROM HOMEPAGE. WE STOP AT TRANSFER TO THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES.)
  1. CONTACT CITY HALL: 2 CLICKS
    1. City HALL
    2. ServicesҤ
  2. FIND OUT WHERE TO VOTE: 2 CLICKS
    1. RESIDENTS, “Election Information
    2. Find your polling location” (TO MARICOPA COUNTY WEBSITE)
  3. VIEW MUNICIPAL CALENDAR (AND OBTAIN ICS FEED FOR USE IN MICROSOFT OUTLOOK, ETC.): 2 CLICKS
    1. CLICK ANY CALENDAR ITEM ON THE FRONT PAGE.
    2. CLICK “Add to my Calendar” AND THE CALENDAR FORMAT OF CHOICE.†
  4. PAY PARKING TICKETS: 2 CLICKS
    1. TEMPE 311, “Pay Online
    2. Court Fines” (TO TEMPE MUNICIPAL COURT WEBSITE)
  5. OBTAIN A BIRTH CERTIFICATE, WITH CONFIRMATION IN SYSTEM: 3 CLICKS
    1. TEMPE 311, “Service Directory
    2. SEARCH FOR “BIRTH CERTIFICATE”
    3. Office of Vital Records” (TO ARIZONA STATE WEBSITE)‡
  6. FIND INFORMATION ON PARKING BANS: NOT ATTEMPTED.
  7. REQUEST REMOVAL OF RESIDENT NUISANCE BEAST: 2 CLICKS
    1. TEMPE 311, “Service Directory
    2. SEARCH FOR “DEAD ANIMAL”@
  8. FIND SCHOOL CLOSINGS: NOT ATTEMPTED.
  9. FIND YOUR SCHEDULED TRASH DAY: 3 CLICKS
    1. RESIDENTS, “Home and Property
    2. Trash & Recycling
    3. Collection Schedule
  10. FIND THE CURRENT COUNCIL AGENDA: 3 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “Mayor and City Council
    2. City Council Agendas
    3. SELECT THE TOP ITEM ON THE LIST.
  11. REVIEW PREVIOUS COUNCIL MEETINGS: 3 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “Mayor and City Council
    2. View Formal Council Meetings” (OR THE SUBSECTION OF CHOICE)
    3. SELECT THE DESIRED SESSION.#
  12. OBTAIN A LICENSE/CERTIFICATE FORM FOR YOUR BUSINESS: 4 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “Economic Development
    2. Permits, Licenses, Utilities
    3. sales tax licenses
    4. Forms“%
  13. OBTAIN INFORMATION ON APPLYING FOR A LIQUOR LICENSE: 5 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “Economic Development
    2. Permits, Licenses, Utilities
    3. sales tax licenses
    4. Business Licenses
    5. Liquor“%
  14. APPLY FOR A JOB WITH THE CITY: 1 CLICK
    1. BUSINESSES, “Job Opportunities with the City of Tempe
  15. FIND THE LATEST BUDGET: 2 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “Budget
    2. SELECT THE LATEST BUDGET FROM THE LIST.
  16. FIND AUDITS: 2 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “Internal Audit
    2. Audit Reports“‖
  17. FIND RECIPIENTS OF CITY-ISSUED CHECKS: 4 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “Internal Services
    2. Finance
    3. Open Book$
    4. CLICK THE PICTURE UNDER “EXPLORE HERE”.
  18. FIND CITY-AWARDED GRANTS/TIF AGREEMENTS/ETC: 3 CLICKS
    1. BUSINESS, “Doing Business with Tempe
    2. Bid & Solicitation Status
    3. Current Tempe Contracts“Δ
  19. CONFIRM AND CONTACT YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES: 1 CLICK
    1. CITY HALL, “Mayor and City Council
  20. OBTAIN CURRENT WEATHER CONDITIONS: 1 CLICK
    1. RESIDENTS, “Weather Station

TOTAL CLICKS: 45

PENALTY CLICKS

  • § – WE DID FIND A FACILITY DIRECTORY WITH PHONE NUMBERS WHICH LISTS THE CITY HALL NUMBER, AND THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL PAGE WITH NUMBERS AS WELL. WE NOTED THE NUMBER AT THE TOP BUT THOUGHT IT A STRETCH TO ASSUME THIS WOULD BE THE CORRECT NUMBER TO REACH CITY HALL. 5 CLICK PENALTY DUE TO THE PECULIAR WAY OF HINTING THAT HEY, MAN, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CALL THIS NUMBER FLOATING OVERHEAD, AS WELL AS THE LACK OF ANY CENTRALIZED PAGE WITH TELEPHONE NUMBERS.
  • † – CLICKING ON ANY CALENDAR ITEM SHALL BRING UP A DETAILED LIST WITH AN “ADD TO MY CALENDAR” BUTTON, WHICH SHALL PRODUCE AN OUTLOOK, GOOGLE OR EVEN YAHOO CALENDAR LINK FOR THOSE STUCK IN 1998 (DON’T SPOIL THE ENDING TO THE WEST WING FOR THEM). HOWEVER, SINCE WE WOULD PREFER A MORE DIRECT WAY OF OBTAINING SAID CALENDARS, WE AWARD A 2 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ‡ – WE WERE SURPRISED TO NOT SEE THIS UNDER THE CITY CLERK’S OFFICE. ALTHOUGH WE NOW UNDERSTAND BIRTH RECORDS TO BE UNDER THE STATE SYSTEM RATHER THAN TEMPE ITSELF, WE ONLY REALIZED THIS WHEN WE FOUND THE LINK TO MARICOPA COUNTY’S RECORDS DEPARTMENT. WHETHER UNDER THE CLERK’S DIRECT JURISDICTION OR NOT, THE LINK SHOULD BE THERE, AS OPPOSED TO BURIED IN THE SERVICE DIRECTORY. 10 CLICK PENALTY.
  • @ – WE DID NOT FIND THIS OPTION IN THE SERVICE REQUEST FORM. WE PRESUME A PHONE CALL WOULD GARNER A MORE SWIFT RESPONSE, BUT THAT COULD IMPLY OTHER SERVICE REQUESTS LIKE A BURNED-OUT STREETLIGHT WOULD BE INSIGNIFICANT BY COMPARISON. IF A DEAD ANIMAL WOULD TAKE A HIGHER PRIORITY, THIS SHOULD BE NOTED AND VETTED IN THE SERVICE REQUEST FORM, NOT A SEPARATE SECTION, AS A NEW VISITOR TO TEMPE MIGHT SIMPLY STOP THERE. 15 CLICK PENALTY.
  • # – WE AM ENCHANTED BY YOUR MORE ETHICAL WORKS. WE WOULD HAVE PREFERRED A WAY TO SHIFT BETWEEN CATEGORIES WITHIN THE TEMPE 11 VIDEO LIST PAGES AND WOULD NORMALLY ASSESS A PENALTY FOR THAT AND THE DREADED PROPRIETARY VIDEO FORMAT OF DOOM. HOWEVER, WE WERE SO OBSCENELY DELIGHTED BY THE INTEGRATION OF THE AGENDA AS A VIDEO INDEX THAT WE NOT ONLY CANCEL THE PENALTY, BUT ALSO DEDUCT A -5 CLICK BONUS. GEEEETTTTTT DUNKED ON, WORCESTER!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • % – SEARCHING THROUGH THE “Doing Business with Tempe” SECTION ONLY YIELDED LINKS TO THE TEMPE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WHICH, ALTHOUGH INSIGHTFUL, WERE DIFFICULT TO NAVIGATE JUST TO FIND OUT TEMPE DID NOT REQUIRE BUSINESS LICENSES FOR MOST BUSINESSES; ONLY TAX FORMS. 30 CLICK PENALTY, 15 FOR EACH IRRITATION.
  • ‖ – THESE WERE LISTED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER WHEN THE REVERSE WOULD BE MORE RELEVANT. WE REALLY WANT TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE UP FOR THE BONUS CLICKS, BUT THIS REALLY SEEM LIKE A SMALL ISSUE. 2 CLICK PENALTY.
  • Δ – WE PRESUME ANY SORT OF TAX INCREMENT FINANCING AGREEMENTS (SHOULD THEY EXIST) WOULD ALSO BE IN TEMPE’S OPEN BOOK$ PAGE. HOWEVER, BEING UNABLE TO FIND ANY SUCH GRANTS, WE CANNOT CONFIRM NOR DENY THEIR EXISTENCE. ALTHOUGH WE GIVE THEM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT SINCE THEY DO PROVIDE A LIST OF ALL THEIR BUSINESS PARTNERS (SORTED TWO WAYS), WE INVITE ANY WHO COULD PROVIDE A MORE DEFINITIVE ANSWER TO CHALLENGE OUR 10 CLICK PENALTY.

OF NOTE, WE DID NOT ATTEMPT ANY ASSESSMENTS BASED ON INCLEMENT WEATHER, AS WE IMAGINE THAT ANY HINT OF SOMETHING LIKE SNOW WOULD BE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY CITIZENS PANICKING AT THE LITTLE FLUFFY FLAKES DESCENDING UPON THEIR DESERT JEWEL. THEREFORE, OBTAINING PARKING BAN AND SCHOOL CLOSING INFORMATION WERE NOT ATTEMPTED AND NEITHER CLICKS NOR PENALTIES SHALL BE ASSESSED. CONSIDER IT A PERK OF LIVING IN A LITERAL OASIS AND MARVEL AT YOUR MISFORTUNE, SNOW-SHOVELING SCHMUCKS!!!!!

NEXT, WE NOTE THAT ALTHOUGH TEMPE’S WEBSITE LOOKED QUITE IMPRESSIVE, WE NOTED SOME OF THE MENU BUTTONS AT THE TOP TO NOT PRODUCE ANY SUB-ITEMS ON MOUSEOVER. WE ALSO WERE UNIMPRESSED BY THE SERVICE DIRECTORY AND EVEN THE FAQ, BOTH OF WHICH DEFIED SEARCHING AND THE LATTER OF WHICH HAD SEEMED LIKE RANDOMLY SELECTED QUESTIONS. WE THEREFORE AWARD A 5 CLICK PENALTY FOR THE INCONSISTENT MENU BUTTONS AND A 25 CLICK PENALTY FOR THE MOST HARSHING ASPECTS OF A WEBSITE ONE COULD OTHERWISE EASILY VAPE TO (WE HAVE NOT, WE SHALL NOT DISCOURAGE TALES OF SAID VAPERY IN THE COMMENTS).

TOTAL PENALTIES: 99

FINAL SCORE:

144

CONCLUSION

MANY OF THE PROBLEMS WE FACED APPEARED TO BE MORE DUE TO ISSUES WITH ARIZONA AND MARICOPA COUNTY POLICIES, RATHER THAN ANY FROM TEMPE ITSELF. WE WERE ESPECIALLY IMPRESSED BY THE CITY COUNCIL DOCUMENT DATABASE’S ORGANIZATION. WE WERE ALSO VERY IMPRESSED BY THEIR USE OF OPEN BOOK$ TO ITEMIZE ALL OF THEIR BUSINESS DEALINGS DOWN TO THE LAST PENNY. WE FOUND THE FAQ REMARKABLY CUMBERSOME AND WERE SURPRISED BY THE INCONSISTENCY IN THE ONLINE SERVICE FORMS, BUT OVERALL, THIS GREAT JEWEL OF THE BUTTES SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF WHAT WE BELIEVE TO BE CLEAR COMMITMENTS TO OPEN GOVERNMENT AND ONLINE ACCESSIBILITY.

TAKE NOTES, WORCESTER. YOU GOT OVERTAKEN IN THE FUNCTIONALITY ROUND AND LAPPED IN THE PENALTY PHASE.

APPEALS

WE NOTE YOU TEMPEANS TO SEEM FAIRLY CHILL. BUT SINCE THIS LOUDMOUTH TYPING IN ALL CAPS HAVE JUDGED YOUR WEBSITE, WE HAVE DECIDED, GIVEN THE SUBJECTIVITY OF OUR PENALTIES, TO OPEN THEM TO APPEAL. ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, YOU MAY POST YOUR OPINION ON OUR PENALTY AND ASSESS YOUR OWN — HIGHER OR LOWER. IF YOUR OPINION SHOULD GET AT LEAST 5 LIKES AND BEAT OUR EXPERT REBUTTAL (WE SHALL BE COPYING AND PASTING “WE DISRESPECTFULLY DISAGREE” OVER AND OVER AGAIN”)… WE SHALL REVISE OUR SCORE USING YOUR PENALTY INSTEAD. WE SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING FORMAT WHICH, IN OUR TRADITIONAL BUREAUCRATIC STYLE, SHALL ACTUALLY BE MANDATORY:

PENALTY: SO AND SO (A MILLION CLICKS).

REASON: I LIKE CHEESE.

RECOMMENDATION: 0 CLICKS.

WE ALSO WELCOME CITIZENS OF ANY CITY WE HAVE THROWN DOWN UPON TO COMMENT ON OTHER CITY’S WEBSITES AS WELL (BUT REMEMBER, WEBSITES ONLY; WE SHALL DELETE INTERCITY SQUABBLING AS WE BELIEVE ALL CITIES TO BE EQUALLY INFERIOR REGARDLESS OF THEIR WEBSITES).

SO REMEMBER: YOU FIGHT FOR THE DISHONOR OF YOUR CITY!!!!! SO BE ON NOTICE, CITIZENS OF WORCESTER, TEMPE… AND ACROSS OUR QUASI-GREAT NATION… BECAUSE YOUR CITY WEBSITE MIGHT ACTUALLY SUCK MORE THAN OURS.

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3 thoughts on “YOUR CITY WEBSITE SUCKS — PART 2: TEMPE, THE LEAST CRAZY PART OF MARICOPA COUNTY

  1. WE INCORRECTLY STATED THAT OSCAR RODRIGUEZ, AKA THE JIMMY SMITS OF CITY MANAGERS, WORKED IN TEMPE. HE DID, IN FACT, WORK IN TAOS, NEW MEXICO — NOT TEMPE, ARIZONA. WE REGRET NOT THE ERROR (JUST THAT WE DIDN’T CATCH IT BEFORE ITS INITIAL POSTING).

  2. Suzanne A says:

    I just called Tempe chamber of commerce looking for a paper map as I am new here, they are closing streets and I can’t see how to get around with my phone, a bit dated but a viable way to learn streets. This is the conversation:
    Hello, my name is S……I’m new here and I would like a map, I can’t figure it out on my phone (google).
    Oh do you have an e mail? I could get it to you that way.
    Yes I do. However I’m looking for a paper map.
    Oh where are you?
    I’m in Tempe
    Oh we usually change for these kinds of things.
    Oh ok thank you bye..
    Oh are you anywhere near …..
    Ok bye.
    I cant wait to get out of this city. My taxes can’t even buy a map. To get around the multiple closures and bums all on the rail line and associated “things” that go with the night life.
    Sincerely
    SA

    • YOU CUT THE PERSON OFF BEFORE THEY COULD OFFER A MEANS OF ASSISTING YOU?? WELL DONE, CITIZEN!!!!

      IN A RELATED STORY, SHOULD ANYONE FROM WORCESTER READ THIS, WE OFFER YOU A MEANS OF ONE-UPPING TEMPE’S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. FIND A WAY TO OBTAIN A FREE PAPER MAP OF THE CITY OF WORCESTER BEFORE A FREE MAP OF TEMPE CAN BE OBTAINED, AND WE SHALL GIVE YOU AN HONORARY TAH PIT.

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