More than ever, Aucklanders are seeking their information, news and events online. Through websites, apps and via social media, the desire for easily accessible digital content on the go is part of the everyday life of many Aucklanders.
Auckland Council has responded by launching this new OurAuckland website to complement the existing OurAuckland magazine and its use of social media to engage with the community.
“We’ve seen a massive increase in our Twitter and Facebook followers over the past 12 months,” says Director of Communication and Engagement Karl Ferguson. “Our 10-year budget consultation this year saw over 6000 submissions made online including 1500 via social media. It’s a clear signal that we need to be focusing our efforts in the digital space.
“At the same time, we know the print edition still has a strong readership so it won’t be disappearing, but we will be changing the format. The new website is mobile-friendly which means maintaining a separate app won’t be needed which will save on resources. We’ll continue to monitor the use of all formats to make sure we’re focusing our efforts in the right place.
“The benefit to Aucklanders is up-to-date information of interest, as well as events, which we know are extremely popular and we are asking Aucklanders what they want to see more of."
"It’s also another way for us to help encourage participation in formal and informal consultation. Awareness of Shape Auckland, the website we use for consultation, is growing and this gives us another way to increase community input.”
The OurAuckland site cost $225k to develop and a further $50k is being invested in supporting search functionality and building awareness. The costs for producing the print edition will continue but over time are expected to reduce as the online presence grows.
Accessibility is also a big driver, says Karl. “Websites are more accessible, for example, for those living with disabilities such as sight impairment and mobility issues. We recently attracted praise from Be.Accessible for the accessibility of the new Auckland Botanic Gardens website.
Earlier this year, the council began publishing information on a variety of council activities as part of its move to be more open and transparent. Annual average rates increases, debt, efficiency savings and progress updates on the NewCore project were first off the rank in a new section called More about the council alongside Local Government Official Information and Meeting Act responses (LGOIMAs)of high public interest. This new website will help highlight the availability of this type of information.