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Does the Monrovia City Website Need a Makeover?

The city plans to pay Mad Haus Creative $21,600 to host and redesign Monrovia's website.

The Monrovia city website will soon have a new look.

The City Council will consider a proposal Tuesday to hire graphic design company Mad Haus Creative to host and redesign Monrovia's website. The contract would pay the company $21,600, of which $9,600 will go toward the redesign.

The firm has contracted with the city to operate its website for years, according to a city council agenda report.

"The firm did the design and construction work on the current city website and currently assists in administering and maintaining the site on a near-daily basis, as well as providing hosting and problem response services," the report states.

The contract does not specify how long the redesign will take or when it will be implemented.

The website in its current form was by the "Latin Hack Team," which took the site over and displayed a message calling for the curbing of global warming.

Monrovia Betty June 29, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I am sure that there are enough people in Monrovia who are web savvy. Maybe if the city would have a contest and offer a $150 gift certificate to the Down Town merchants, someone would come up with something brilliant, fun, and appropriate for a minimal cost. Give some of our locals a chance to SHINE!!
Cristina Samp June 29, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I agree 100% with Betty. I'm sure there are many web savvy people in our community that could help. Teachers/staff are receiving pink slips in our schools, and all of the student based organizations at all school levels are suffering because of the lack of money. The MHS Band and Colorguard has approximately 30 new students that will need instruments and marching uniforms for the fall season, including costs of music, drill, instructors, etc. This is an award winning program that is proud to be part of Monrovia. I can only speak for Band since I have been with them for the last 4 years. Thank you
DSN Bob June 30, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Well, I hate to disagree with Betty but this job is not as easy as she thinks and it’s not something that you do once and then forget about. Of that $21,600, only $9,600 is for the design. The other $12,000 is for keeping the site up to date on almost a daily basis for probably a year but maybe longer. This means a person sitting at a computer terminal somewhere revising the site as things in the city change. It’s a cost we must already be paying as we have a web site that is being maintained. I can’t imagine a site equivalent to the present one but including all the whiz-bang things you can do with modern web technology that make sites fun to visit and encourage visitors to return being created in less than 100 hours. It takes both graphic arts and computer programming skills – a combination not normally found in the same person. I’m not saying that this person doesn’t exist but if she does, I’m certain she has far more rewarding things to do with 100 hours of her life than trading them for a $150 gift certificate. Will it help Monrovia’s image if we have a more modern web site? It probably will. Is it better to spend $9,600 on the city’s image or on the Monrovia High School band? I don’t know. We all have our favorites. I have to trust that our city government will do what is best for our city and its citizens with our very limited resources. They seem to be doing that. Everyone I know is proud of their city.
Sarah Farmer Earll June 30, 2012 at 03:18 PM
gotta agree with DSN Bob. Good design is expensive, and a good web designer is hard to find. The remainder of the contract is only $1000 per month (if that's for a year), which seems like a reasonable expense. The current website is cumbersome, difficult to find anything. It's the first face of the city to web visitors, so we should put our best face forward.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 01, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Betty's a sharp gal, of that there is no question. The problem is that website production is one thing, system maintenance is another altogether. It's a question of who hosts the servers, what the site licenses, who is educated enough on the software to make future enhancements. The site could use some improvement. It is not as interactive, participative, and intuitive as I might like. Clearly, it is great to have, but it could be improved, and information protection, as in data security, are critical in enhancements to avoid breaches to public data and services.
John Rizzi July 01, 2012 at 08:27 PM
The expense isnt out of line as web development goes, but I do question the need. The redesign isnt really needed in my opinion. The site is easy to navigate and searchable. I think its a solid hub for info... As far as design goes, everybody has a different opinion. The current tech is Joomla! and it is fast and works well. as a taxpayer, I think we $$ave the redesign and manage what we have unless we are looking at a major productivity gain of city staff by redesigning the site. my 2cents
Gayle M. Montgomery July 04, 2012 at 06:15 AM
I just finished watching the Council meeting on this and wanted to interject that the website should have direct links to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and an Instagram page where citizens can share pictures of our community vis a vis the Gem City Images guy who does such a great page. With respect to eCommerce, which I believe is much needed, there is the cost of credit card fees and security of transactions to be considered. If the City already accepts these cards, it shouldn't be a big deal, but there is a cost of money associated, and it becomes hyper prudent to insure information protection is in place. Watching City Council meetings as Joe asked and Tom corrected, would require significant bandwidth in the volume of meeting time and number of viewers. But other, shorter videos or presentations could be included.
Kate K. July 08, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Yes, the website definitely needs a make-over. NO, NO, NO, the city should NOT be hiring yet another professional public contractor to do this job. We have Citrus College students as well as Mt. Sierra students right here in town who, for a simple piece-work contract and a low stipend, could make a 500% improvement in the Monrovia website in 8 weeks time. It could even be someone's degree thesis project. Website restructuring and security are not "rocket-science".

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