Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The dizzying array of pages to find minutes has been vastly simplified at http://solonohio.org/archive.aspx It also has a place to hold agendas, hopefully they'll maintain that archive so you can see an older agenda without reading through all the minutes. Right now they only have the most recent agenda.

Some minutes, like the Master Planning Citizens committee are missing, but you can go here http://bettersolon.blogspot.com/search/label/MasterPlan for timely updates on that topic.

Proposed Ordinances

Under Govt, Proposed Ordinances, its blank... Hmm where's the third version of the rental regs, guess I'll have to scan them in and post them to http://BetterSolon.org/

Not that I endorse them, bigger govt isn't better and I think they are a prime example.

But now they've completely removed that page...


the BB Rd project info, guess if people need to now project history on that they'll have to go to http://bainbridgeroad.wordpress.com/


Most pages are located using an index, and the old content is down, so old links to city pages don't work. Boy am I in for some fun with some of my websites all having dead links to the city now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quick Links

Not in sitemap

Used by Police, SCA...

Opinion Polls

Looks like Toni may have helped with Solon's first home page opinion poll.

Your only choice is positive options. They don't have an option for "missing content" or redundant links like the "Permits and Forms" and the "AZ Forms" which both point to http://solonohio.org/index.aspx?NID=82

Look for future polls to tell you how great city hall is...

Emailing the city

Previously the city used to list email addresses, now click on a link and get a form, you have to fill in your first & last name, email address, phone number and then it sends an email to that dept.

Some of us use sophisticated email clients that have address books, have signature lines with our contact info, keep copies of our email so we can send (forward) second and third notices when the first email is claimed to have not been received.

This method assumes you only want to talk to one dept. As an simple example of where this doesn't work, when the county removed all drive access one day and didn't give notice or add the contract req'd barrels, some of us called the police to prevent people from driving off the 4 ft drop (several did anyway), they weren't sure what to do. So I reviewed the county plans, found the safety requirement for no driveway access. Then to prevent more people dropping off the road, I sent that info to - county supervisor, police chief, mayor, public works, city construction mgr, and the two councilman affected, also blind copied our road project lawyer. In this new method, I'd have to repeat the message 8 times and no one would be aware of who was copied.

Other times, I've sent emails, they are timestamped in my email client, then someone has claimed "they didn't know", I've simply forwarded them the old email from my city folder and they can see how long they've ignored it. In this new method, it doesn't appear that you get a copy of the email you sent.

Another feature I sometimes use is "return receipt" which tells me when my email was read.

This city web site "new feature" takes away a critical function. For those that rarely use email, they may like the new feature, for the rest of us, it should simply list the "mailto:address" HTML anchor tag as an option to the email for dummies form.


The situation I describe above is if you use Resident/StaffDirectory (top bar) or Contact Us (bottom bar). If you use Email (social bar 2nd from the bottom) it works slightly differently.

Email, appears to let you select multiple departments, but not individual people. It doesn't requiire you to specify an email address, but it DOES require you to specify a street address, city, state, and zip code (are they expecting lots of people from outside Solon? Maybe the default could BE Solon?).

Email also lets you print a copy, the directory doesn't.

Interesting that there are three ways to email, and they aren't consistent.

Some other methods of contact that might be nice - FEEDBACK to report these kind of web site problems and SUGGESTIONS to the city for anything (like not building temp roads).


Yet another way is the old way which you can contact people is by there email address at the Rec dept staff directory at http://solonohio.org/Directory.aspx?DID=7  that you can get to from the rec dept or from the main staff directory.


And some have no email at all, like the clerk of council, an important person to contact about anything related to council activities.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Notify Me

New feature...

The notification feature should be cool. You can subscribe an email to be notified of lots of different things.


There are many menus on the new site:
  1. Main Top Navigation
  2. Second top
  3. Sidebar
  4. Bottom social network bar
  5. Bottom bar
The sidebar is rather sparse compared to the old site, the top bar is where to find things first. To find department or govt pages that were on the side, you hover over a top menu and then find the dept, another flyout menu for major info, or go to the dept page and look on its sidebar.

Info under the top Department and Residents tab is arranged alphabetically, except Deer Mgt is before Boards and Commissions (guess the latter is too BORING). Info under the Govt tab is arranged hierarchically starting with the Mayor and Council and ending with Boards and Open Records Requests.

I mentioned the main navigation is on a top menu bar and the sidebar has some main items after a changeable part on the top left of the sidebar. 

The first item on the bottom sidebar is the SCA, this will help Joe find his fav opera quickly. You can also find city forms, the notify me page where you can sign up for email or cell phone alerts, and the video site. On the bottom flourish of the left sidebar is a link to economic development page with an upward pointing graph. 

The sidebar has an e-services page that even has a photo gallery, mainly populated by SCA and a few from the Senior Center. Maybe we can look forward to seeing some of our road or storm sewer projects in the future. I'm sure home days will be on there. 

Sewer billing takes a prominent place on the sidebar and is listed as a dept within Public Works, but since its new, maybe they want to make its presence known. 

There's also a social bar near the bottom to share (social bookmarking like Digg), Print, Email (to the city), RSS (a way to receive web page updates in a "RSS reader"), and two more items (Facebook and Twitter) that each go to the same social networking pages that list various dept facebook/twitter links 

Lastly there's the bottom bar of fine print, including the sitemap. and contact us which gives a hierarchical directory (that is also at the bottom of the Resident top tab).

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