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jnorris235

How many web sites does the Council have?

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Over the last 5 years - I wonder how many web sites the Council has had, paid for, and discontinued (such as faster4herefordshire.com).

 

Several years ago I was told I'd failed in a bid to write one for them because I had come in under their advised limit. They were looking for quotes over £5000 and I had quoted £3000.

 

So - tell me, anyone who writes web sites - how can hereyoucan.co.uk the latest Council web site possibly have cost over £20,000? Be clear - the brief alone cost £15,000. This was JUST for writing it - seen how much is on the site??

 

>>the development of the electronic website to enable easy access to businesses and community to the toolkit, guidelines and examples for use. The total cost to design, host and manage the interactive website is £21,821.25. <<

 
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It's crazy isn't it. The quality of most of the websites is horrendous and look like they were made by a 5 year old using MS Word.

While some of the websites have huge backends and databases to maintain, a suitably cost more to build and administer, there are A LOT of "brochureware" websites such as Hereyoucant which a local company could whip up for 1-3,000. For something like Hereyoucant, I'd probably charge in the region of £1,500-2k then a maintainance subscription - you can bet the London firms charge a subscription service on top of that 20k as well. Either I'm good and efficient or I seriously under value my work :P

 

I have a friend who works for a Scottish web design firm. I was being lazy and asked him how much it would cost to make the site for one of my companies, he quoted £18,000. I hand coded it myself from scratch within 2 weeks.

Edited by Biomech
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'Well' this is an eye opener for me

I know nothing about this,

I know you need Web sites but didn't know they even cost even 'half' of this!!!

 

More waste 'but is it?' Our council seem to 'waste' money in every area?

If they were a private company they would've been out of business years ago!!!

I am seriously starting to think all this 'wasted money' is deliberate

Edited by silent bull
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A good website is worth it's weight in gold... (hrrmm)... and you often pay for specialist time, like you would a plumber or electrician. Writing code by hand can take a long time (but is more fun). And you have a team or multi talented individual working on a project, you need project management, a web designer, graphic design and a coder. Possibly a database engineer. For things like council sites you need to adhere to accessibility recommendations - I don;t know if they do and it's too late to get into that, but Google for an AAA checker.

My issue with this is more that what they have to show doesn't correspond to the money paid. Many of the websites that they have are known as "brochureware" websites, microsites that comprise mostly of static content - ie no backend databases or dynamic scripting.

 

Even more worrying is that a large majority of the council websites just don;t work. They run alpha and beta versions live for public use for months to years on end.

 

£20,000 for a network of websites that fully integrated into the council management system (pot hole reports and status, refuse collection databases etc) that would be extraordinarily cheap. But £20,000 for hereyoucan is very expensive,

 

Not to mention it was contracted out to a company in London.

Edited by Biomech
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Ok you got me, first page only, fails on 23 accounts:

http://achecker.ca/checker/index.php

 

Just a quick glance, the main few issues there, in a nutshell images on websites have associated titles and "alt" attributes. If the image doesn't or fails to load, the alt attribute is put in it's place.

 

Consider this:

 

1. You go to hereyoucan and the images fail to load. You have no idea what those links are for, what they say or where they go.

2. You're blind and use a screen reader (that speaks the text on the screen), the screen reading software can't read text in pictures so it looks for the alt attribute, there is none.

Edited by Biomech
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Biomech using your code checker on Herefordshire Council main website it comes back with known errors and potential errors. Can you explain what it means? There are a lot of visually impaired people in Hereford who use screen readers so I assumed the Council website would be accessible. Surely Hoople have the expertise to design an accessible website otherwise why are they charged with looking after all the ICT provision? 

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That only throws up 4 errors that are all the same, these are really suggestions to be honest.

 

They are using italic text (i) and the guidelines/checker is recommending that they use bold (strong/em(phasis)) instead to make the text more distinguishable for people with visual problems.

 

It is actually against the law to provide a government website that doesn't meet accessibility regulations. I believe it falls under the equality act.

 

There was a big hoo-har because it's a pain in the ass, stifles development and design and can take a lot of extra work to implement. Most "normal" websites, you can get away with anything you'll find 99.99999999% of websites fail to meet the standards, but government sites do need to make the effort.

 

Let me.... here... http://www.rnib.org.uk/professionals/webaccessibility/lawsandstandards/Pages/uk_law.aspx

 

So the hereyoucan website, is, in fact, illegal.

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The Council have about 30 odd current domains. For each one they buy the .com, the .co,uk and the .org to avoid any spoofing. They also only use many of them for a few years but they keep the domain ownership for 5 yrs plus so that none else can take over the name and spoof the web site - or even, god forbid, use it to deride the council!

 

I have the list somewhere with associated costs etc. This is one department where I get all the answers I want and indeed am now on the Digital Strategy Task & Finish Group group (part of a Scrutiny Committee) which is far wider ranging.

 

I believe the City Council has a new web site coming at some enormous cost - again contract given to an outside firm?

 

And before you ask, yes I know what each of those capitalised words mean individually .... but .....

 

Apparently - HereYouCant?

 

PS I have owned herefordshire.com for twenty years - any ideas what to do with it? I pulled it apart last November and just used it as a campaign page.

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Bloody hell, who thinks up these ridiculous trumped up names for their departments? Digital Strategy Task & Finish Group indeed - tell us what you really do, if anything. Tell us why you're paying through the nose for London based web design. Tell us why the Council's web site appears to be illegal - whose task was it to ensure it complied? 

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