Gone But Not Forgotten

Hello, you've landed on DATA eh? - Open Data Toronto's original blog space for data discussions. This is not an active blog at the moment but legacy posts are still here. Have a read ... you can still provide comments.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye 2009 ... hello 2010!

NOTE: This is content from the web re:Brand posts going back to November 2010. We have kept the re:Brand posts as a legacy archive but, on a go forward basis as of October, 2011, the new DATA eh? content takes over this space.

At a time when media and tweet-a-holics are presenting their highlights of the year's best moments,  I thought I'd weigh in with a few for us at the toronto.ca web re:Brand.
#5 - Refreshed home page
We kicked off our project in March with a new "jacket" for the front page.  I like to say it wasn't the full suit ... we were (and are) just trying on a new coat to get us started.  Lots of people interpreted it as a final design however. It's not. There was coverage on other blogs about it too (NOW, blogTO) - I'll provide a better summary in another blog in the new year.

#4 - Comments Wall
We introduced the Comments Wall with the launch of the refreshed index page. This represented the first time the City has allowed or solicited comment about the website (beyond having a webmail address). Not a revolution but a great first step in having our users help us along in the examination of toronto.ca.  To date, we've had 151 comments.  We do look at these by the way and are basing much of our approach to the new website  from your comments.

#3 - webbook
Although users outside of the City of Toronto walls can't see this, it's something we offered to staff as our own social media tool to use.  There's been several live chats with Deputy City Managers, the Medical Officer of Health (around H1N1) and our Information Technology heads. We have several regular bloggers and are just about ready to launch a phase 2 of the product that will allow even more options for engagement.  Webbook is our attempt to have staff get their feet wet in the social media milieu. We have just under 1000 subscribers at the moment which was our target in the pilot year.

#2 - Web Content Management
A dedicated team working on the implementation of content management tools has got working pages in place and we intend to begin the roll out in 2010.  This will appear seamless to users but represents a huge step in achieving the goals of a rebrand.  We'll be able to post content in a variety of ways and bring our "coding" up to snuff.  We're using "Vignette" Open Text to get the job done.

#1 - Open Data
Clearly the toronto.ca/open initiative is # 1 - a huge step in making government more transparent. As an outcome, we expect to see new apps show up that will benefit toronto.ca users.  We released more data in the launch than we thought we could and plan more releases through 2010.  We have lots of data of course and the expectations are very high from the developer community.  The website dataTO.org is contributing to the dialogue. If I have one wish for 2010 it's that we push ahead here and get users and issuers together more often to keep the momentum going.
Speaking of wishes, I guess that slides nicely into "resolutions" for the New Year.   I can only speak personally but I plan to be able to produce many more re:Brand "highlights" next year.  2010 is going to be awesome in scope for us.

Still time to contribute
I say this often here but we really need your support in the re:Brand process.  If you are really keen, why not agree to be a tester for us? We'll be talking to users directly as we introduce a toronto.ca/labs space for focusing on how the website may change.

If you're not exactly a keener, you can still comment here or on the Comments Wall. Personally, I'd prefer you to talk to me here since we can have an exchange of views beyond the 400 character limit on the Wall. We recently extended the Wall to 400 characters btw.

As always, the anonymous survey is really helpful in getting a handle on how you use the current site.

However you engage back, 2010 is the year to do so.  You know, they still ask in many marriage ceremonies if anyone has a reason why the couple shouldn't get married to "speak now or forever hold your peace".  2010 is the ceremony for us - we're listening - so speak now ...

Have a great and safe New Year!

Oh yeah, one other thing ... we just added a Toronto Innovation Showcase Behind the Scenes highlight reel to the YouTube channel.  This event was a big one and would be # 6 on the highlights list if I went beyond a top 5. Have a look:

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