San Jose’s new website won’t debut until late fall
San Jose City Hall is pictured in this file photo. Photo by Ramona Giwargis.

A massive makeover of San Jose’s antiquated website planned for March has been delayed, in part, because of the webmaster fleeing for a neighboring city and San Jose’s difficulty finding a replacement in the heart of tech innovation.

However, city staff say an even better design is expected to launch late this fall.

“I would say what we’re doing is expanding the scope of it,” said city spokeswoman Rosario Neaves, adding that the city is looking to make improvements to its social media sites and other communications channels.

After receiving additional feedback on the prototype this spring, Neaves said additional items were added to the city’s to-do list.

“We identified that the content and look and feel and branding were all great,” Neaves said. “But we’re still trying to meet Silicon Valley standards.”

These standards focus on a variety of factors from page load time to better security. One key goal is to ensure that site users can easily access the information they’re seeking, Neaves said, such as scheduling a junk pick up, adopting a pet or applying for a job with the city.

Screenshot of San Jose’s proposed new website, which has now been delayed. Photo courtesy of city of San Jose.

“Attracting (talent) is a priority,” Neaves said. “We want to make the application process much smoother.”

Among the positions the city hopes to fill is the webmaster position itself. The former webmaster left San Jose for a job with the city of Santa Clara in March and, since then, a temporary webmaster has been filling in.

While not the sole factor, Neaves says the former webmaster’s departure has contributed to the project delay — and San Jose is having trouble finding an experienced tech guru when competing with billion-dollar tech companies.

“There’s a talent war among municipalities and also in Silicon Valley,” Neaves added in an email. “So we’re hoping to attract a great candidate who wants to be part of helping us redesign the city’s digital front door.”

Located in the city manager’s office, the job calls for at least four years of professional analytic or administrative experience. The compensation is set at roughly $82,000 to $126,000 per year.

Kelli Parmley, San Jose’s assistant director for human resources, also acknowledged the struggles the city faces to recruit and retain employees especially when competing with smaller neighbors, such as Santa Clara.

“We certainly do compete with smaller agencies that might pay more,” Parmley said.

She added, however, that city employees often report a higher satisfaction with municipal work. “We have way more interesting and broader projects and initiatives,” Parmley said, adding that city employees often get to see a project through completion while private-sector employees only see a small piece of it. “If you want to have an impact you can do that pretty darn quickly in local government.”

With the expanded scope of the project, Neaves says the city will also hire an IT project manager. She hopes to find candidates “who think digitally” and would be excited to work in each of the city’s departments as coordination is crucial.

Contact Carina Woudenberg at [email protected] or follow @carinaew on Twitter.

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