City of Northfield’s new website: What’s your reaction?

City of Northfield new website

The City of Northfield launched its new website this week.  I like the photos (heh), but I’ve otherwise not had time to check it out.

Post your comments, pros and cons, here.

City of Northfield dipping its toe in crowdsourcing: Mitch wants you to submit your photos for its new website

Michele 'Mitch' Merxbauer City of Northfield photo uploader

I coaxed Northfield Interim Community Development Director Michele ‘Mitch’ Merxbauer to stop by my corner office at GBM last Friday so I could take her photo to go along with her email request for photos:

The City of Northfield is undergoing a major website overhaul and we need your help! The City’s website is representative of our community and we are in need of pictures to showcase all the great places, people and events that make Northfield a fabulous place to live, work, shop and play!

Please submit any photos you feel represent Northfield. All seasons are needed! The website committee will review all submitted photos and choose several to frame the main pages of the new website. All photos used will be credited to the submitter. By submitting your photo, you are giving the City of Northfield permission, without compensation, to use the photo on the website and in any other media to represent Northfield.

Photos not chosen for the main page frames *may* still be used in other spots throughout the new website. Photos should be submitted to by August 20, 2012. Photos should be submitted in JPG format at a maximum width of 300 pixels. For additional photo information, please see the web page listed above.

I think’s a very good sign that the City is engaging the citizenry in a little crowdsourcing at this early stage in the web site development process.

An even better sign? When I first registered for the photo submission site, the disclaimer text stated that the City of Northfield would have exclusive ownership over submitted photos. I explained to Mitch how that would be a big disincentive to many people, especially hobbyists like me and professional photographers, from submitting their favorite Northfield-related photos. We want to share the photos but we also want to retain ownership. Within a couple of hours, the City staff met and had the wording changed.  Cool.

City of Northfield has a dotgov domain name?

kiosk, Sesquicentennial Plaza, Northfield City of Northfield banner
There’s a City of Northfield banner at the bottom of the kiosk on Sesquicentennial Plaza promoting the web address of, which, as far as I can tell, doesn’t exist. Or is there a plan afoot?

$23,000 for a City of Northfield laserfiche system. Huh?

laserfiche I was surprised to learn this week that at the end of 2009, the City of Northfield spent $23,000 for a laserfiche/document management system (p. 13 of the disbursement PDF; company: Crabtree). I thought it was still being considered. I asked City Clerk Deb Little to point me to the council agenda, packet, and minutes where the purchase was discussed and voted on.

Surprise #2: Deb wrote:

This was approved through the budget approval process.  In addition, the dollar amount falls under the cap that the City Administrator is able to approve.

No Council discussion? Not even a consent agenda item?

Continue reading $23,000 for a City of Northfield laserfiche system. Huh?

Screencast: my frustrations of trying to locate the Comprehensive Plan on the City’s website

While composing the blog post for this week’s podcast, I tried to link to the City of Northfield’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan on the City’s website. AAARRRGGGHHH! (Save yourself the frustration. Here’s the link to the City of Northfield’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan.)

Watch this video/screencast of my frustrations. (I’m linking to the screencast vs. embedding the code because the it needs to be viewed in a larger size than fits here.)


I’ve turned off comments on this post. Continue discussion on the blog post: What needs to be changed with the City of Northfield’s web site?

Update 2/21: All the problems noted in the above screencast have been fixed, with the exception of the first search result.

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