YOUR CITY WEBSITE SUCKS — PART 3: KNOXVILLE, VOLUNTEERS ALL THE WAY DOWN

ONCE AGAIN, OUR “YOUR CITY WEBSITE SUCKS” COVERAGE IN HONOR OF SUNSHINE WEEK CONTINUE!!!! THIS TIME, WE VISIT THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE.

CELEBRATING ITS 225TH ANNIVERSARY AS A CITY (AND AGAIN WE SAY YOU DON’T LOOK A DAY OVER 179), THE BUSTLING HEART OF APPALACHIA AM BEST KNOWN TO MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL GEEKS FOR BEING NAMED AFTER THAT GUY WHO MOVED A BUNCH OF CANNONS TO BLAST THE BRITISH OUT OF BUNKER HILL. TODAY, THEY STAND AS THE PROUD HOME OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, HOME OF THE LEGENDARY VOLS. NOT UNLIKE WORCESTER, THEY ALSO FACED AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AS MANUFACTURING AND TECHNOLOGY ADVANCED BUT HAVE HAD A RESURGENCE SINCE THE ’80S. DO THEIR WEBSITE REFLECT THEIR COMMITMENT TO CIVIC PRIDE? OR AM THEIR STRONG-MAYOR GOVERNMENT SOURED BY A WEAK-SAUCE WEBSITE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

ONLY ONE WAY NOT TO FIND OUT.

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.

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE

GENERAL

APPEARANCE

KNOXVILLESITE

  • OVERALL IMPRESSION: A SOOTHING SHOWCASE OF THE CITY’S BRIGHTEST MOMENTS. MAIN WEBSITE SHOW A QUIET CITYSCAPE, AN EASY FEAT TO MANAGE WHEN YOU COVER THE HEART OF YOUR CITY WITH TEXT, PRESUMABLY TO PROTECT IT FROM MOLA RAM.
  • MOBILE VERSION: EASY TO READ AND STRAIGHT TO THE POINT.
  • FRONT PAGE HIGHLIGHTS: “SEARCH FOR ANYTHING”. PRESUMPTUOUS… CUT OF JIB APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FUNCTIONALITY

(ALL TASKS ATTEMPTED BY FOLLOWING DIRECT LINKS FROM HOMEPAGE. WE STOP AT TRANSFER TO THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES.)
  1. CONTACT CITY HALL: 1 CLICK
    1. Contact
  2. FIND OUT WHERE TO VOTE: 2 CLICKS
    1. GOVERNMENT, “Boards & Commissions
    2. Election Commission” (DEFERRED TO KNOX COUNTY WEBSITE)
  3. VIEW MUNICIPAL CALENDAR (AND OBTAIN ICS FEED FOR USE IN MICROSOFT OUTLOOK, ETC.): 2 CLICKS
    1. Events
    2. CLICK THE “Export Events” ICON.
  4. PAY PARKING TICKETS: 3 CLICKS
    1. I want to // Pay / Buy // Parking Ticket
    2. SUBMIT A PAYMENT ONLINE
    3. CLICK HERE TO PAY ONLINEҠ
  5. OBTAIN A BIRTH CERTIFICATE, WITH CONFIRMATION IN SYSTEM: UNABLE TO LOCATE ON CITY WEBSITE.‡
  6. FIND INFORMATION ON PARKING BANS: 2 CLICKS
    1. RESIDENTS, “Traffic & Transit
    2. Parking
    3. ParkDowntownKnoxville.com“#
  7. REQUEST REMOVAL OF RESIDENT NUISANCE BEAST: 2 CLICKS
    1. Animal Care & Control
    2. Request Dead Animal Pickup
  8. FIND SCHOOL CLOSINGS: 2 CLICKS
    1. Newcomer Information
    2. Schools” (DEFERRED TO KNOX COUNTY SCHOOLS WEBSITE)
  9. FIND YOUR SCHEDULED TRASH DAY: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.%
  10. FIND THE CURRENT COUNCIL AGENDA: 3 CLICKS
    1. GOVERNMENT, “City Council
    2. Agenda
    3. SELECT THE LATEST ITEM FROM THE LIST (FROM THE FRIDAY PRIOR TO THE MEETING ON).
  11. REVIEW PREVIOUS COUNCIL MEETINGS: 3 CLICKS
    1. GOVERNMENT, “City Council
    2. Agenda
    3. SELECT YEAR.
  12. OBTAIN A LICENSE/CERTIFICATE FORM FOR YOUR BUSINESS: 2 CLICKS
    1. Apply for // Business License
    2. Business Tax License Application [PDF]“^
  13. OBTAIN INFORMATION ON APPLYING FOR A LIQUOR LICENSE: 3 CLICKS
    1. Apply for // Business License
    2. Liquor License Info
    3. Procedures for New Applicants [PDF]
  14. APPLY FOR A JOB WITH THE CITY: 3 CLICKS
    1. Apply for // City Employment
    2. Current Job Openings
    3. Register and Set Up Profile
  15. FIND THE LATEST BUDGET: 2 CLICKS
    1. GOVERNMENT, “Budget
    2. SELECT THE APPROPRIATE ITEM.
  16. FIND AUDITS: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.Δ
  17. FIND RECIPIENTS OF CITY-ISSUED CHECKS: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.
  18. FIND CITY-AWARDED GRANTS/TIF AGREEMENTS/ETC: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.
  19. CONFIRM AND CONTACT YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES: 2 CLICKS
    1. GOVERNMENT, “Mayor’s Office
    2. GOVERNMENT, “City Council“↕
  20. OBTAIN CURRENT WEATHER CONDITIONS: 1 CLICK.
    1. VISITORS, “Visit Knoxville” (NOTE ICON IN UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER).↑

TOTAL CLICKS: 33

PENALTY CLICKS

  • § – ITEMIZED LIST, AND INCLUDES A LINK TO THE VISIT KNOXVILLE EVENTS CALENDAR. WELL PLAYED. WE DEDUCT A -2 CLICK BONUS FOR THE CARE TAKEN WITH AN OFTEN FORGETTABLE FEATURE.
  • † – AM THERE NOT AN ECHO IN HERE????? 5 CLICK PENALTY… PENALTY… PENALTY… NOW BATTING FOR THE WORCESTER BRAVEHEARTS… BRAVEHEARTS… BRAVEHEARTS… NUMBER 29… 29… 29… BOBBY… BOBBY… BOBBY… DRAGON!! DRAGON!! DRAGON!!
  • ‡ – THE PLACE TO FIND A BIRTH CERTIFICATE WOULD BE THE COUNTY OF KNOXVILLE’S VITAL RECORDS DIVISION. HOWEVER, EVEN WHEN WE TRIED TO “SEARCH FOR ANYTHING”, WE WERE UNABLE TO LOCATE SAID INFORMATION. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • # – WE TECHNICALLY DID NOT FIND INFORMATION ON WEATHER-RELATED PARKING BANS. HOWEVER, WE WERE SO IMPRESSED BY THE GOOGLE OVERLAY MAP AND THE PARKER APP LINK THAT WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO AWARD WHAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE A 5-CLICK PENALTY. NO PENALTY.
  • % – WE FOUND NUMEROUS REFERENCES TO A RESIDENT’S SCHEDULED TRASH DAY… BUT NEVER SAW ANY CALENDARS. GOING TO WASTE CONNECTIONS OF TENNESSEE‘S WEBSITE DID REVEAL A LINK TO A SCHEDULE… WHICH REDIRECTED TO THE KNOXVILLE CITY SITEMAP. WE SALUTE KNOX COUNTY’S FRUSTRATION RECYCLING POLICY. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ^ – “State law requires that all businesses (with exceptions for professions, manufacturers, and certain disabled persons) inside the city of Knoxville have both city and county business licenses.” WE APPRECIATE KNOXVILLE SUPPLYING ALL THE INFORMATION ONE MIGHT NEED TO DO BUSINESS IN THEIR CITY ON THEIR WEBSITE. EXCEPT, HOWEVER, THE COUNTY BUSINESS LICENSE FORM. 15 CLICK PENALTY.
  • Δ – THIS WOULD EVIDENTLY BE UNDER THE PURVIEW OF THE KNOX COUNTY INTERNAL AUDIT DEPARTMENT, NOT KNOXVILLE CITY. HOWEVER, WITH SO MANY ASPECTS OF KNOXVILLE LIFE GOVERNED BY THE COUNTY, AS WE HAVE SAID NUMEROUS TIMES ELSEWHERE, IT WOULD BEHOOVE THEM TO INTEGRATE COUNTY AND CITY INFORMATION BETTER, EVEN TO THE POINT OF REDUNDANCY. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ◊ – WE COULD NOT FIND INFORMATION RELATING TO CURRENT BUSINESS PARTNERS OR GRANT RECIPIENTS OF THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE. THEY MAY NOT BE REQUIRED BY LAW TO PROVIDE THIS INFORMATION. HOWEVER, IN THE SPIRIT OF SUNSHINE WEEK, WE AWARD A 20 CLICK PENALTY FOR EACH OMISSION REGARDLESS, RESULTING IN A TOTAL 40 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ↕ – GIVEN THE SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE OF THE KNOX COUNTY MAYOR AND COMMISSION ON EVERYDAY LIFE IN KNOXVILLE, WE EXPECTED TO SEE AT LEAST SOME INFORMATION REGARDING SAID INFLUENCE ON THE CITY WEBSITE. WE CONSIDER THIS A SIGNIFICANT OMISSION. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ↑ – ADJUSTING THIS SCORE BASED ON THE WAY WE SHALL SCORE PROVIDENCE; CLOSE ENOUGH BUT NOT OBVIOUS ENOUGH TO GET AWAY SCOT-FREE, AS NON-VISITORS MIGHT ALSO WANT TO KNOW THE WEATHER. IN ADDITION, WE DO NOT SEE ANY MORE DETAILED INFORMATION WHEN CLICKING THE WEATHER ICON. GRANTED, THIS MIGHT NOT BE KNOXVILLE’S FAULT, BUT WE CAN ALWAYS ADJUST IT ON APPEAL. 15 CLICK PENALTY.

WE UNDERSTAND THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE AND THE COUNTY OF KNOXVILLE HAVE TWO VERY DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS AFTER OUR BASIC RESEARCH. HOWEVER, NOT EVERYONE WOULD HAVE THE TIME OR PATIENCE TO SIFT THROUGH WHAT THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE WOULD HANDLE VERSUS THE COUNTY OF KNOXVILLE. THE CITY COULD MAKE THIS CLEARER, BUT AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING, THEY HAD MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES TO DO SO WHICH THEY DID NOT CAPITALIZE ON. 50 CLICK PENALTY FOR WHAT WOULD APPEAR TO AN OUTSIDER TO BE A SIGNIFICANT RIFT BETWEEN THE CITY AND COUNTY LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT, STYMIEING OUR ATTEMPTS TO SUBVERT AND/OR COMPREHEND THE RATIONALE BEHIND WHERE TO GO FOR WHAT, AND THE SEEMING LACK OF CONCERN BY THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

TOTAL PENALTIES: 203

FINAL SCORE:

236

CONCLUSION

WE WERE QUITE SURPRISED BY THIS SCORE BEING SO HIGH. WE MUST SAY, HOWEVER, THAT WITH CITY AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT TO DEAL WITH, IT WOULD BEHOOVE THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE TO HELP CITIZENS UNDERSTAND KNOX COUNTY’S ROLE IN THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES BETTER. WE DO, HOWEVER, NOTE THE CITY WEBSITE’S EXCELLENT DESIGN FOR HANDLING MOST EVERYDAY TASKS A CITIZEN OF KNOXVILLE WOULD PERFORM AS WELL AS THEIR SUPERIOR EVENT CALENDAR.

WE MIGHT ALSO HAVE SKEWED THE NUMBERS OUT OF JEALOUSY AT KNOXVILLE HITTING #56 ON THE U.S. NEWS “BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN THE USA” LIST, COMPARED TO OUR INFERIOR #65 RANK. IN ANY CASE, WE SEE SIGNIFICANT ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT ON BOTH THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE AND THE COUNTY OF KNOX WEBSITES, ALTHOUGH THEY STILL PUT WORCESTER TO SHAME IN TERMS OF EASE OF USE DESPITE BECOMING OUR CURRENT PENALTY PHASE LEADER.

APPEALS

APPEALS IN BIZARRO WORCESTER USUALLY INVOLVE US LISTENING CAREFULLY TO YOUR COMPLAINTS AND THEN MOCKING YOU WHILE WE MOVE ONTO SOMETHING ELSE. 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.

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

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

HAVE A COMMENT??? AMUSE ME OR SUFFER!!!!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: