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City Puts Out Call to Vendors for New Website, Content System

Stockton is seeking to revamp the city site, and a request for information from vendors spells out its needs. If the responses are satisfactory, a request for proposal could be issued next month.

The city of Stockton is seeking information from vendors about a planned revamp of the municipal website, and depending on the industry response, a request for proposals could be issued next month.

In a 12-page request for information published last week, the city notes that it’s had a website since 1999 but that the majority of it is still working on a platform that was last redesigned in 2011, “using HTML as a simple content management system (CMS) interface for making changes to the site,” which “does not fully satisfy accessibility goals/requirements and fails to take advantage of the latest technological advances that are important to community members, businesses and visitors.”

The city is exploring a major revamp of the site, seeking one that’s “aesthetically pleasing, easy and intuitive to navigate, with a content management system that can be updated and managed by nontechnical staff.”

The RFI notes: “Lack of current technology has required the city to seek costly third-party applications and vendors to support communications and distribution of services and funding to facilitate COVID recovery efforts, such as programs offered under the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as other state and federally funded programs.” It adds that the main city site and its hosted pages “are not integrated and do not display properly on some browsers and mobile devices,” and that the city has found some aspects of the site “difficult to maintain and modify.”

Vendors are asked to address their ability to provide and maintain a hosted state-of-the-art website that offers:
  • HTTPS security that’s browsing-encrypted and verified by a trusted third-party with a valid SSL certificate.
  • Website availability and reliability of 99.99999 percent up time.
  • Compliance with current and future Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Section 508 and any other state or federal regulatory requirements.
  • Translation of content into other languages in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 13166 (Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (2000) Navigation and content aligned with W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standards).
  • Integration with and access to other city sites and applications that are served by a variety of platforms, e.g., NeoGov, Granicus, GOGov apps, Accela, Munis, Click2Gov and Tyler Technologies.
  • A secure (password access) employee portal to post communications and information specific to employees for employee remote access.

The city also seeks a system that provides city developers with a “sandbox” environment where significant changes to style, appearance and structure can be tested and vetted before being published. A new system should incorporate style sheets to maintain a consistent look and feel, and it should give city development staff unobstructed access to make changes without vendor intervention.

The site should be easily expandable and able to accommodate other large departments in the future. It should support upload of photos, videos and audio files, and it should be able to stream the city’s government access television channel from a live feed or archived video “with a method that is easy and intuitive for nontechnical content providers (Web Team members) to understand and use effectively,” the RFI says.

Internally, the city wants an “easy-to-use content management system for nontechnical Web Team members to make changes and content updates to maintain consistent enterprisewide design,” the RFI says. It should accommodate multiple content providers and approvers on the platform simultaneously, and it should be built with a responsive design that allows for search engine and user-friendly URL aliasing.

In addition, the city hopes for “initial and ongoing vendor-provided training and appropriate documentation for content migration/conversion and ongoing maintenance and operations support.”

The city wants the ability to add new pages and documents and complete site modifications without relying on outside resources. It would also like analytical tools for managing, reporting and reviewing site visits and interactions for statistical analysis.

For the public, the city would like a system that:
  • Is compatible with all major web browsers and with all devices, desktop and mobile, including older versions.
  • Allows a user experience that is integrated and seamless with other websites and platforms used by the city, including a consistent look and feel across all pages and a website with style rules to ensure that a standard look is maintained, regardless of browser used to access site.
  • Has a “modern graphic and navigational design that is a resourceful and informative platform with search capabilities.”
  • Is visually appealing, with changing/rotating images on the home page.
  • Provides for secure transactions to support e-commerce and e-government capabilities for online payments and interactive forms and applications.
  • Can accommodate embedded live feeds from city social media sites, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.
  • Has a calendaring function for posting city meetings and events.

Any information filed by vendors should include:
  • A cover letter and a general description of company.
  • A narrative that responds to the city’s requirements.
  • Estimated costs, including all one-time and recurring, implementation and multiyear.
  • A breakdown of any known equipment and services that the city will need to dedicate, buy or subscribe to for support of a proposed website.
  • A proposed implementation timeline for this scope of work.

Prospective respondents are asked to submit any questions no later than 5:30 p.m. Nov. 10 by mail to Stockton Community Relations Officer Connie Cochran, 425 N. El Dorado St., 2nd Floor, Stockton, CA 95202; or by email to Connie.Cochran@stocktonca.gov. Any city responses to vendors’ questions will be issued by Nov. 16. Sealed responses to the RFI must be received by 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18.

The city says that if it receives the desired information, an RFP could be issued as early as next month.
Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.