B&NES council hits back at website criticism
Bath and North East Somerset council has defended its new £94,000 website after it was criticised on social networks.
The council launched its money-saving website last week but within hours digital experts in the city had taken to social media to lambast it.
On Twitter @Chutzpah84 said: "Oh crikey, I'm not actually hamming this up. The B&NES website update has killed ALL links to library services from Google."
@EmmaB said: "94k? How exactly is that justified? The header title isn't even in focus."
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Initial problems included the error message 404 for people trying to access the site via Google search results, and the error message 403 for those wanting to add events to a new community calendar.
Criticism was also made of the site's design, typography, use of icons, layout, navigation, accessibility and its compatibility with mobile devices.
One web developer, who did not want to be named, sent the Chronicle a report listing 40 problems and criticisms after canvassing the views of his colleagues in the industry.
B&NES says the new website will save money and includes a range of improvements which will make it easier to search and navigate.
The authority says it will save £200,000 over the next three years because it is using the web platform Drupal, which does not require a licence to run and fewer staff would be needed to operate it.
A spokesman for the council said: "There are a range of improvements including a new look and feel, fewer web pages to make the site easier to search and navigate, and a new community events calendar that members of the public and organisations can update. It provides comprehensive information and helps convenient access to our services, such as payments, for our residents."
He added: "Following the changeover of the website we have submitted a new site map to Google and Bing to ensure that links are properly referenced in the future and old links are phased out – we are dependent on Google and Bing as to when this takes place."
Feedback on the new website is welcome via drupal@bath nes.gov.uk.