The City researched a range of content management solutions before deciding to take a closer look at PaperThin's CommonSpot. "We had extensive ColdFusion experience in house, and knew that we would have better success with a ColdFusion-based product," commented Randy Cookston, Senior Systems Analyst for the City. "We ultimately chose CommonSpot because it was clear that for the price, no one could touch the functionality CommonSpot offered."
In addition to ensuring that content was fresh and the site dynamic, the City sought to redesign the site from the 'customer' perspective. "Our old site was designed based on the structure of our internal departments, not on how visitors would logically look for information. Our new site navigation is more intuitive. We also incorporated feedback we had received about the old website, and analyzed usage statistics to determine which features and content were most popular. We incorporated all of this in developing the new user interface," commented Joan Schoening, IT Manager for the City of Foster City, CA.
Foster City's new site includes a wealth of information for its residents, including extensive information about education, transportation, community programs and events, city government offices, city services, employment, business resources, FAQs and much more.
Prior to the launch of the new site, the Web team trained 20 content contributors from different city departments, to enable them to convert content from the existing site. According to Schoening, "As the contributors realized how easy CommonSpot is to use, they are asking for other staff members to have content contribution rights as well, distributing the updating process even further." The City has implemented limited workflow approval processes at a department level where requested.
The new site, www.fostercity.org, has received much positive feedback. All development for the new site was done by the City's in-house Web team. The site incorporates many of CommonSpot's powerful out-of-the-box features, including extensive use of templates, page index elements, and custom metadata. Templates were employed to ensure consistency and control, while page index elements and custom metadata are powerful features which make it easier to filter and dynamically display information that changes often, such as listing of press releases on the home page, and current job openings in the Employment section.
Rob Lasky, Senior Systems Analyst for the City of Foster City, CA noted that they were able to easily extend CommonSpot's power by developing custom elements. "We really like the fact that we could leverage ColdFusion so easily to develop the functionality we wanted. We have implemented custom elements throughout our site, which is one of the ways we've added liveliness to the site. Overall, we have found CommonSpot to be a very powerful product," Lasky added. "We are very impressed with what it can do."