Just about every city in Broward County has an official website. The city website is a great source of information that saves the city staff time and money by having important information accessible to the public. The website may be the first place a potential resident may go to find out more information about the city that they are moving to, or where a business goes to bid on future projects. City websites also allow residents to find out answers about their utility bills, review meeting agendas, or email city officials.
I looked over 30 websites and I judged the following by:
- Style – Must look up-to-date and have no animation or scrolling marquees.
- Navigation – Items must be easy to find. If people can’t find what they are looking for, not only are they going to leave, but they will contact the city via phone tying up staff time.
- Layout – Items must not be all over the place. Things must flow. Boxes of information must not be everywhere or links in a weird place.
Several of these cities must understand the importance of all of these factors because it looks like they put a substantial amount of time and effort into making their sites look good and work efficiently. Others have a long ways to go and really need to update their websites.
Best City Websites in Broward County
Tie – Parkland and City of Sunrise
Easy to navigate, beautiful layout and the colors are nice and makes it very easy on the eyes than stark white. Beautiful photography that highlights parts of Parkland not only in the header but on the top box. Horizontal menu is easy to find items needed. Calendar on the right is useful. Search tool is handy. The site was redesigned two years ago said City Manager, Caryn Gardner-Young.
City of Sunrise
Fantastic Photography that makes me want to move or do business there. Fantastic horizontal menu with creative icons. Social icons on top. What’s so good about the icons is they don’t go overboard with every social icon ever created. They stick to the basics: Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Any more than that is pretentious and useless. Weather and calendar and easy to navigate. This is a professional website and shows the City of Sunrise has taken great measures to perfect it.
Worst City Website in Broward County
The City of Pembroke Pines
Here is a website that looks like it hasn’t had a facelift since the 1990’s because it’s so busy, my eyes just get frustrated by looking at it. Do they really put their residents through this mess to find things? The boxes of information that surround the page resemble ads. Imagine trying to find an event through this mish-mosh of boxes. I think a city of Pembroke Pines’ size needs to work on getting a professional look to reflect how far this city has come in 20 years.
Most Creative City Website
Southwest Ranches, which has about 7,500 residents and is located in Western Broward county keeps the flavor of what the Ranches is all about: “Preserving Our Rural Lifestyle.” The website resembles a barn fence with items hung on the fence which are hyperlinks to get into site. Very creative.
City Websites That Need Improvement
I wouldn’t be doing any of these cities justice without telling them what they can improve upon. Perhaps, they already know and don’t really care. Maybe they are looking to update their website’s soon. They should know how to make their websites more user friendly and find the company to do the best job they can for them and their residents.
City of Tamarac
Tamarac may be Broward’s unofficial “King of Social Media” for their ability to Tweet, but their website is way behind the times. Tamarac tries to cram as much information as they can with many different fonts that it looks confusing. Scrolling marquees (or fonts) are another distraction. No beautiful photos of the city, just a self-promotional photo of their city commissioners on the front. Fonts are way too small. These need to be increased and layout needs a facelift. There is also dead space on the front page that has nothing in there. If filled, it will probably be more links which is just a temporary fix. Not pictured below, but on the website there is a series of world flags at the bottom. Do we really need this website translated in all those languages?
Busy busy, too much of a good thing. I know Coral Springs has a lot to share with the residents, but they have to find a way to integrate this information into their menu items. There are just too many things on the front page. Links everywhere and small fonts. What could be the worst part, the social icons at the top require a magnifying glass to see. A calendar would be nice instead of all those circles. Coral Springs is a beautiful city and what this website needs is some beautiful photos. The photos that are squashed on top do not paint a picture of this “Premier Community.”
Gray and depressing. Scrolling marquee races across quickly, so you better read fast or you’ll miss the important message flashing by. Too many widgets with different styles that have information and articles for residents to click. The header at the top is crammed toward the top with just a small photo of….not the beautiful city, not the parks, but a photo of the city municipal buildings! I hope that’s not the image the City of Margate wants to portray to potential residents and businesses. “Welcome to Margate, we have a municipal building!”
Town of Davie
This website is just hard to find anything. I used to live in this town and I was constantly calling the city because I could never find the information I needed on the site. There are way too many links on the front page. The designer may think this makes it easier for residents to find things, I found it to be one big mess. They need to look at some of the easier-to-navigate sites and get rid of this mess on the front page and use more menu buttons to clean it up. I do give them credit for the calendar on the front page.
Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs and the rest of South Florida.