YOUR CITY WEBSITE SUCKS — PART 7: BUFFALO, THE WORCESTER OF NEW YORK

AND NOW, WE FINALLY BRING A MERCIFUL END TO OUR “YOUR CITY WEBSITE SUCKS” COVERAGE FOR SUNSHINE WEEK WITH A CITY NEAR AND DEAR TO US: BUFFALO, NEW YORK.

EAGLE-EYED WORCESTER BLOGOSPHERE HAUNTS SHALL RECALL BUFFALO TO BE THE HOME OF ONE OF THE GREATEST SPORTS BLOGS OF ALL TIME: BUFFALO BRUISES. BUT BETWEEN THE SNOW, POLITICS AND THE BUFFALO BILLS, THIS DOWNTRODDEN CITY (HEY, IT FEEL GOOD TO SAY THAT ABOUT A CITY BESIDES WORCESTER FOR A CHANGE!!!) DO HAVE THINGS TO BE HAPPY ABOUT, INCLUDING A FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT HOUSE, THE FIRST NATURAL GAS WELL IN THE UNITED STATES, AND A HOST OF PAINSTAKINGLY RESTORED BUILDINGS.

BUT SHOULD BUFFALO’S WEBSITE BE COUNTED AS ONE OF ITS PRIZED POSSESSIONS, ARDENTLY DEFENDED BY A #BUFFALOCITYWEBSITEMAFIA????? OR WOULD THE HOTTEST TAKE BE THAT IT SUCKS??????????????????

(BIZARRO NOTE: THANK GOD WE DON’T HAVE TO PUT IN ONE OF THOSE LEAD-INS AGAIN.)

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.

BUFFALO, NEW YORK

GENERAL

APPEARANCE

BUFFALOSITE

  • OVERALL IMPRESSION: POWERPOINT BLUES WITH A SIDE OF POINTLESS COLOR CODING. 311 HELP CENTER PROMINENT. MAIN PAGE DESIGN UNCHANGED SINCE 2008.
  • MOBILE VERSION: COMPLETELY UNREADABLE.
  • FRONT PAGE HIGHLIGHTS: OSTENSIBLY HELPFUL “OTHER RESOURCES” TAB. A “MY PROFILE” BUTTON FOR THE SUPER-SECRET BUFFALO-ONLY ULTIMA ONLINE SERVER. AND A SHOPPING CART ICON SO YOU MAY PROPERLY ITEMIZE YOUR BRIBES.

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. MOST REQUESTED PAGES, “City of Buffalo Phone Directory
  2. FIND OUT WHERE TO VOTE: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.§
  3. VIEW MUNICIPAL CALENDAR (AND OBTAIN ICS FEED FOR USE IN MICROSOFT OUTLOOK, ETC.): UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.
  4. PAY PARKING TICKETS: 2 CLICKS
    1. Online Payments
    2. Parking Ticket Payments
  5. OBTAIN A BIRTH CERTIFICATE, WITH CONFIRMATION IN SYSTEM: 4 CLICKS
    1. City Departments
    2. Office of City Clerk
    3. Birth Certificate Request
    4. www.vitalchek.com” (DEFERRED TO VITALCHECK.)
  6. FIND INFORMATION ON PARKING BANS: 2 CLICKS
    1. City Departments
    2. Emergency Management Services
    3. Parking Ban
  7. REQUEST REMOVAL OF RESIDENT NUISANCE BEAST: 3 CLICKS
    1. 311 Buffalo
    2. Animals
    3. Report a dog nuisance to the Buffalo Animal Shelter
  8. FIND SCHOOL CLOSINGS: 2 CLICKS
    1. Residents
    2. Board of Education” (DEFERRED TO BUFFALO PUBLIC SCHOOLS.)
  9. FIND YOUR SCHEDULED TRASH DAY: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.‡
  10. FIND THE CURRENT COUNCIL AGENDA: 3 CLICKS
    1. LEADERSHIP, “Common Council
    2. Council Agendas
    3. SELECT THE TOP ITEM ON THE LIST.
  11. REVIEW PREVIOUS COUNCIL MEETINGS: 3 CLICKS
    1. Common Council Agendas
    2. SELECT THE YEAR CONTAINING THE AGENDA YOU WISH TO SEE.
    3. SELECT THE AGENDA.#
  12. OBTAIN A LICENSE/CERTIFICATE FORM FOR YOUR BUSINESS: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.
  13. OBTAIN INFORMATION ON APPLYING FOR A LIQUOR LICENSE: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.^
  14. APPLY FOR A JOB WITH THE CITY: 1 CLICK
    1. MOST REQUESTED PAGES, “Job Openings and Exam Announcements
  15. FIND THE LATEST BUDGET: 2 CLICKS
    1. LEADERSHIP, “Mayor
    2. MAYOR’S PLANS AND PROPOSALS, “2015-2016 Adopted Budget
  16. FIND AUDITS: 2 CLICKS
    1. LEADERSHIP, “City Comptroller
    2. Audits
  17. FIND RECIPIENTS OF CITY-ISSUED CHECKS: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.Δ
  18. FIND CITY-AWARDED GRANTS/TIF AGREEMENTS/ETC: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.Δ
  19. CONFIRM AND CONTACT YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.
  20. OBTAIN CURRENT WEATHER CONDITIONS: UNABLE TO FIND ON CITY WEBSITE.

TOTAL CLICKS: 25

PENALTY CLICKS

  • § – AS WE UNDERSTAND IT, BUFFALO VOTERS WOULD VOTE FOR THE MAYOR, THE COMMON COUNCIL AND THE COMPTROLLER. WE COULD BE VERY WRONG ABOUT THIS, AS WE COULD NOT FIND WORD FREAKIN’ ONE ABOUT WHERE TO FIND A LOCAL POLLING PLACE. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • † – THE LINKS FROM THE BUFFALO CITY WEBSITE INCORRECTLY LINKED TO THIS CALENDAR. ADDITIONALLY, WE COULD NOT FIND ANY CALENDAR FOR COMMON COUNCIL MEETINGS. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ‡ – WE FOUND A LINK TO THE PENALTIES FOR IMPROPERLY DUMPING TRASH (WHICH WE HAVE NO OBJECTION TO), BUT COULD NOT FIND ANY SCHEDULES OTHER THAN FOR BULK PICKUP. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • # – NO VIDEO RECORDINGS ON THE WEBSITE THAT WE COULD FIND. IN ADDITION, TO PROVE THAT INDEED, WORCESTER DO NOT HAVE A LOCK ON SHEER AWFULNESS IN AGENDAS, WE PRESENT THIS. CAN YOU TELL HOW THE VOTES WENT? 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • % – WE SEE AN ATTEMPT TO LINK TO THE ERIE COUNTY BUSINESS PAGE. HOWEVER, WE ALSO SEE HOW MUCH EFFORT THEY MADE TO MAINTAIN THE LINK. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ^ – SEE ABOVE. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • Δ – WE ADMIT WE DID NOT REALLY LOOK TOO HARD FOR THIS, BUT IN OUR DEFENSE, WE EXPECT WE PUT MORE EFFORT INTO OUR SEARCH THAN BUFFALO DID TO INFORM ITS CITIZENS. 40 CLICK PENALTY, 20 FOR EACH ITEM.
  • ◊ – WE DID FIND THE COMMON COUNCIL PAGE HERE. HOWEVER, ALL THE COUNCILORS’ TERMS WERE STATED TO HAVE ENDED IN 2015. 20 CLICK PENALTY.
  • ↕ – WE DID FIND A PAGE EXPLAINING TO VISITORS AND RESIDENTS THE CONCEPT OF WEATHER. AT NO POINT DID WE FIND ANY PAGE DETAILING THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW OR ANYTHING THAT MIGHT BE EVEN REMOTELY HELPFUL. 20 CLICK PENALTY.

WE AWARD AN ADDITIONAL 20 CLICK PENALTY FOR A COMPLETELY UNUSABLE SITE IN ITS MOBILE FORM DUE TO THE LILLIPUTIAN MENU SIZE, A 50 CLICK PENALTY FOR NEITHER TWITTER NOR FACEBOOK LINKS (ASSUMING THEY EVEN EXIST), AND A 100 CLICK PENALTY FOR BY FAR ONE OF THE WORST IMPLEMENTATIONS OF LASERFICHE WE HAVE EVER SEEN, ONE FOR EACH CLICK IT TOOK US TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET INTO THE DATABASE.

TOTAL PENALTIES: 370

FINAL SCORE:

395

CONCLUSION

WE DID NOT EXPECT THE SHEER AWFULNESS OF BUFFALO’S CITY WEBSITE TO COMPLETELY OVERPOWER US. THE UNHOLY TRIFECTA OF LASERFICHE, A COMPLETE LACK OF ANY VIDEO RECORDINGS OF COUNCIL MEETINGS, AND AN EXTRAORDINARILY UNHELPFUL ATTITUDE TOWARDS BUSINESS MADE THEIR RANKING A FOREGONE CONCLUSION, BESTING WORCESTER AND SPRINGFIELD TO TRULY EARN THE RIGHT TO BE CALLED A WEBSITE WHICH SUCKS.

THIS SHOULD IN NO WAY REFLECT UPON THE GOOD DOWNTRODDEN CITIZENS OF BUFFALO WHO TOIL ENDLESSLY THROUGH PERMAFROST AND STADIUM NEGOTIATIONS. BUT WE ASK YOU: WHAT HOPE WOULD ONE HAVE OF THE COUNCIL HEARING YOUR CONCERNS IF NO ONE CAN BE BOTHERED TO UPDATE THE CONTACT INFORMATION AFTER THREE MONTHS? WE HOPE THIS SHALL SERVE AS A WAKE-UP CALL TO BUFFALO, AS THEIR WEBSITE DO INDEED SUCK A GREAT DEAL MORE THAN EVEN WORCESTER’S.

AND UNLIKE SHARK-JUMPING TURTLES, WE TAKE NO PRIDE IN ANNOUNCING THIS.

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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