"I am happy to report that the new and improved Common Council website is now up and running," council assistant Lisa Veldran announced Thursday in an email to Madison's 20 alders.
Launched yesterday, the new site for the Madison Common Council is a significant improvement over its prior online home. Alder profiles, district maps, upcoming meetings and agendas, and information about high-profile ordinance proposals and resolutions are all presented in a cleaner and more intuitive manner than found previously.
In the works since last June, the site is the product of the Work Group on Council Webpage Redesign, which included Alds. Austin King, Brenda Konkel, Zach Brandon and Larry Palm. "We looked at different design elements on other city council websites," says Veldran, "and hashed out what should be included on ours."
The work group's ideas and feedback was subsequently passed on to the city's Information Services staff, which put the new site together.
The new site includes new profiles for all alders, plus their committee assignments, district news, and significant policy initiatives. Also available are a new set of district maps, a tutorial on council basics, and lists of high-profile pending and adopted legislation, as selected by council staff.
"We're also looking at putting a calendar function on it, so you can see what neighborhood meetings are happening in the district," Veldran says.
There's even a banner featuring four-fifths of the body; only Alds. Konkel, Knox, Compton, and Rosas are missing from the photo taken last summer.
The membership of the council is set to change soon though, as its membership will change following the April 3 election. That's why a lot of the individual alders' content is missing; this information and new photos are planned once the new council is sworn in.
The city is also looking at updating is Legistar system, used to track city meetings and legislation. "That's just being started now, and probably won't be functioning until September," Veldran notes.
The new system may include the most obvious thing missing from the new site -- a function for looking up and/or tracking the voting records of individual alders on roll call votes.
Veldran is interested in feedback on the new site; any thoughts can be sent here.