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.

Monday, April 26, 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.

This is segmented part 5 of the Lucky 7 ... the major areas we intend to address for improving toronto.ca.

Our testing indicates that 42% of respondents chose “Requesting a City Service Online” (e.g. road repair, garbage pickup, tree work) and 39% of respondents chose “Paying Online” (e.g. bills, permits, tickets, fines, program fees) as the most important types of services to offer on an improved City of Toronto website.

Once people used Online Services, 92% of them indicated that they would use them again.

In general, the users’ comments suggest that citizens would like to see new and more sophisticated online services made available, particularly in areas like bill/fine payment, permits and registration.

Some user comments:
“Anything the City sells should be available to be purchased online
"Ability to do payments online for all types of Services - pay bills, provide feedback, submit forms and request city services.” 
 “Have debit payments online.” 
 “Parking is one service that NEEDS online services to allow people to be able to pay bills online. They should also have the ability to dispute tickets online and to arrange for a date in court online, as currently they must either come in person or mail in a request to fight the ticket.” 
 “Why don't you allow online payment of property tax bills?” 
 “You should be able to get a history of your property taxes online without having to go to a municipal building, wait inline and pay $5 per statement." 
This is tied into automating services with a single log-in for easy registration and payments.

Tell us what you think ...

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Pat said...

Not sure whether this fits in this section, but what about creating a visible app section. (Referring to either web or mobile apps.) The data is being put out there, but it doesn't seem like the city is ready to showcase what the community might create. We need something attractive and skimmable (think App Store) so that average users will be comfortable browsing and discovering. I would say that that's a problem with the current layout for online tools that the city offers -- Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that you only find them when you search them out, but few people go actively digging. They should be more out front, so that people will browse them just to see what's there, and stumble upon useful things they hadn't even realized they needed :)

But then again, everyone wants everything "out front", don't they? haha

Anonymous said...

Why does the city charge fees for making payments online? Isn't this discouraging people from using online services?

Keith from the TO web re:Brand team said...

Hello "Anonymous" - I can't answer this directly as I don't have any influence or authority over fee decisions or the specific rationale for why they are being charged.

My role here would be more to discuss whether or not it was clear on the web page that a fee needed to be paid - that and to talk about improving user experience around the process which, I suppose, you could argue would be to not have fees. An interesting conundrum!

Patrick said...

Seems like a rather valid concern from Anonymous.
Any suggestion on who to contact in order to voice an opinion?

Also, tried to do a test run through the process, and couldn't find any mention of fees... Of course, I only made it so far without a real ticket, but it seems that this info might be something to divulge at the very beginning of the process... Or maybe I'm missing something...

Keith from the TO web re:Brand team said...

@Patrick - you've been busy reading - thanks and I like it! I'd like to hear from others if an upfront note on the fee would be better than further into the process. It seems to me, either way, you'll have frustration. But we are looking at creating a better user experience regardless. If there was a clear consensus that listing fees earlier would be better, then I think we could lobby to get that done as part of our change map. I can't dummy up the process either with no ticket. I will be speaking to the managers of the tool and talking about it. If I can get some explanations I'll share them in a post.