YOUR CITY WEBSITE SUCKS — PART 6: SACRAMENTO, CITY UNDER SNARK SIEGE

WITH SUNSHINE WEEK HITTING FRIDAY, WE NOW COME TO THE FIRST OF OUR TWO PERSONAL CHOICES: SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA.

HOME TO @SAC_SNARK, BETTER KNOWN AS THE BIZARRO @TURTLEBOYSPORTS ACCOUNT, THE CAPITAL OF CALIFORNIA AND HEART OF THE GOLD RUSH AM HOME TO INDEPENDENT FILM COMPANIES,(FAKETALK, WORCESTER FILM WORKS AND THESE FOLKS SHOULD WORK OUT A DEAL) HIGHLY RESPECTABLE MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS NAMED AFTER THE VILLAIN FROM BIOSHOCK INFINITE, AND GREAT MOMENTS IN GENTRIFICATION.

THE “MOST DIVERSE CITY” IN THE UNITED STATES ALSO CAN BOAST PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN VLADE DIVAC‘S RULE OVER THE SACRAMENTO KINGS!!!!!! BUT WHAT OF THEIR WEBSITE??? IT ALSO WON A “BEST OF THE WEB 2015” AWARD, MAKING IT A FAVORITE TO WIN YCWS BOTTOM HONORS!!!!!!!!!!! DO THEY DESERVE OUR SYCOPHANCY… OR MERELY SNARK?!? AND MORE IMPORTANTLY… CAN WE GET THROUGH ONE MORE OF THESE PUNCHY IRON CHEF AMERICA-ESQUE CLOSING PARAGRAPHS WITHOUT WANTING TO SHOVE OUR KEYBOARD INTO A CHIPPER SHREDDER??????

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.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

GENERAL

APPEARANCE

SACRAMENTOWEBSITE

  • OVERALL IMPRESSION: CLEAN AND BRIGHT WITH MINIMAL DISTRACTIONS.
  • MOBILE VERSION: STRAIGHT TO THE POINT, ALTHOUGH NOTABLY MISSING THE “MOST REQUESTED” LIST.
  • FRONT PAGE HIGHLIGHTS: ON PAPER, NOT A LOT TO BE SNARKY ABOUT. CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS TAKE PRIORITY.

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 Us
  2. FIND OUT WHERE TO VOTE: 4 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “City Clerk
    2. Elections
    3. ELECTION LINKS
    4. Polling Place Look-Up” (DEFERRED TO SACRAMENTO COUNTY)
  3. VIEW MUNICIPAL CALENDAR (AND OBTAIN ICS FEED FOR USE IN MICROSOFT OUTLOOK, ETC.): 2 CLICKS
    1. EVENT CALENDAR
    2. CITY HALL, “Meeting Schedules“§
  4. PAY PARKING TICKETS: 2 CLICKS
    1. Online Citation Services
    2. PAY CITY OF SACRAMENTO CITATION” (or “PAY SACRAMENTO COUNTY CITATION“)
  5. OBTAIN A BIRTH CERTIFICATE, WITH CONFIRMATION IN SYSTEM: 2 CLICKS
    1. Birth & Death Certificates
    2. Birth Certificates” (DEFERRED TO SACRAMENTO COUNTY)
  6. FIND INFORMATION ON PARKING BANS: NOT APPLICABLE.
  7. REQUEST REMOVAL OF RESIDENT NUISANCE BEAST: 3 CLICKS
    1. ONLINE SERVICES, “311 Services
    2. Online Service Request Portal
    3. Service Request
  8. FIND SCHOOL CLOSINGS: NOT APPLICABLE.
  9. FIND YOUR SCHEDULED TRASH DAY: 2 CLICKS
    1. MOST REQUESTED, “Service Day Finder
    2. ENTER INFORMATION.†
  10. FIND THE CURRENT COUNCIL AGENDA: 2 CLICKS
    1. upcoming meeting materials
    2. CLICK THE TOP ITEM ON THE LIST.
  11. REVIEW PREVIOUS COUNCIL MEETINGS: 3 CLICKS
    1. archived video meetings
    2. SELECT A YEAR.
    3. SELECT A MEETING.‡
  12. OBTAIN A LICENSE/CERTIFICATE FORM FOR YOUR BUSINESS: 2 CLICKS
    1. MOST REQUESTED, “Apply for a Business License
    2. You can now apply for or renew your BOT online!
  13. OBTAIN INFORMATION ON APPLYING FOR A LIQUOR LICENSE: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.#
  14. APPLY FOR A JOB WITH THE CITY: 2 CLICKS
    1. Employment
    2. Open Jobs
  15. FIND THE LATEST BUDGET: 4 CLICKS
    1. ONLINE SERVICES, “Open Data Platform
    2. OPEN BUDGET
    3. SELECT THE BUDGET FOR THE LATEST FISCAL YEAR.
    4. SELECT A HEADING OR DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT.
  16. FIND AUDITS: 2 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “City Auditor
    2. Reports
  17. FIND RECIPIENTS OF CITY-ISSUED CHECKS: 3 CLICKS
    1. ONLINE SERVICES, “Open Data Platform
    2. data.cityofsacramento.org
    3. Checks Issued
  18. FIND CITY-AWARDED GRANTS/TIF AGREEMENTS/ETC: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.%
  19. CONFIRM AND CONTACT YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES: 3 CLICKS
    1. CITY HALL, “Mayor & Council
    2. Find Your District
    3. ENTER YOUR MAILING ADDRESS.^
  20. OBTAIN CURRENT WEATHER CONDITIONS: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE

TOTAL CLICKS: 37

PENALTY CLICKS

  • § – WE SEE NEITHER A FULL CALENDAR FEED FOR THE GENERAL EVENTS CALENDAR, NOR ANY KIND OF INTEGRATED CALENDAR FOR THE COUNCIL SCHEDULE. WE DID SEE AN RSS FEED FOR COUNCIL MEETINGS, BUT THIS WOULD SEEM A SURPRISING OMISSION FOR A 2015 BEST OF THE WEB WINNER. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • † – A SUPERIOR ANSWER TO THE QUESTION, EVEN PRODUCING A TRASH CALENDAR FOR DOWNLOAD. AN EASY -5 CLICK BONUS DEDUCTION.
  • ‡ – THE ONLY THING KEEPING US FROM AWARDING A DOUBLE-DIGIT DEDUCTION: PROPRIETARY VIDEO FORMAT. OTHERWISE… VIDEO INDEXED BY AGENDA HEADINGS? CHECK. VIEWING WINDOW WITH MINUTES ON THE SIDE? CHECK. MP3 DOWNLOAD FOR LISTENING ON THE GO TO THE DULCET TONES OF ERIC GUERRA? CHECK. WITH GOVERNMENT ACCESSIBILITY LIKE THIS, YOU WOULD BE A FOOL NOT TO SNARK ON SACRAMENTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -9 CLICK BONUS!
  • # – ALTHOUGH WE NOTE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE SALES TO BE UNDER THE PURVIEW OF SACRAMENTO COUNTY — NOT SACRAMENTO CITY — WE NONETHELESS QUESTION WHY WE COULD NOT FIND ANY MENTION OF THIS INFORMATION ON THE CITY WEBSITE. WE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE WITH STRONG COUNTY JURISDICTION AS IN KNOXVILLE AND WE ADOPT THE SAME STANCE: TO MAKE IT EASY TO DO BUSINESS IN THE CITY, GIVE BUSINESSES THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO DO BUSINESS IN THE COUNTY. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • % – AS WITH TEMPE, WE GRANT THEM SOME PARTIAL CLEMENCY DUE TO THEIR EXTENSIVE OPEN BUDGET, AND IT MAY BE THAT WE SIMPLY OVERLOOKED EXACTLY WHERE TO FIND THE INFORMATION WE SOUGHT. THE USUAL APPEAL MAY BE GIVEN TO LIFT THIS 10 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ^ – WE DID NOT SEE ANY PAGE CONTAINING ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS’ CONTACT INFO AT ONCE. ALTHOUGH WE NOTE EACH COUNCILOR AND THE MAYOR TO HAVE A ROBUST STAFF, IT WOULD STILL BEHOOVE THE CITY TO MAKE IT CLEAR AT A GLANCE HOW TO CONTACT ANY MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL. 15 CLICK PENALTY.
  • Δ – IN A CITY LIKE WORCESTER, WHERE WEATHER CAN BE A LEGITIMATELY DEEP TOPIC OF CONVERSATION, KNOWING THE WEATHER AT A GLANCE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ENJOYABLE WALK IN THE PARK AND A TRIP TO THAT RAIN GEAR MONEY SINK AT CVS. DITTO FOR SACRAMENTO, WHICH WE UNDERSTAND TO HAVE FLOODING CONCERNS AS WELL AS SUNNY DAYS WHICH COULD EASY BE AMMUNITION IN A TOURISM PITCH TO VISITORS. A LOST OPPORTUNITY FOR SACRAMENTO TO PROVIDE VALUABLE INFORMATION, A SEIZED OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO PAD OUR WORD COUNT. 20 CLICK PENALTY.

WE ASSESS A 20 CLICK PENALTY FOR THE POP-UP MENUS WHICH, ALTHOUGH EMINENTLY USEFUL, TEND TO DISAPPEAR A NANOSECOND BEFORE WE CLICK ON AN ITEM.

TOTAL PENALTIES: 91

FINAL SCORE:

128

CONCLUSION

WE WERE ESPECIALLY PLEASED WITH SACRAMENTO’S COUNCIL ARCHIVES, AND WE THINK NICOLE APOSTOLA WOULD BE DROOLING OVER THE TRASH CALENDAR.

ALTHOUGH NOT A PERFECT IMPLEMENTATION, WE HAVE TO SAY SORRY, SACRAMENTO SNARK… WE FIND THE OBJECT OF YOUR DERISION TO ACTUALLY HAVE AN ASS-KICKING WEBSITE. WE STILL, HOWEVER, THINK OF SACRAMENTO AS PORTLANDIA SOUTH EXCEPT WITH MORE GENTRIFICATION.

AND GOOD LUCK ON THAT CITY MANAGER SEARCH. WE RECOMMEND JIMMY SMITS!!!!!!!!!!

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.

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