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Digital access / Municipal government / Technology

Pittsburgh’s website is getting a redesign, and city gov wants your feedback

Pittsburghpa.gov has come a long way since its earliest days, but I&P decided it's time again for an upgrade. Plus, for fun: Check out what the site looked like 15 years ago.

The view of pittsburghpa.gov on Feb. 14, 2024. (Screenshot/Courtesy pittsburghpa.gov)

In February 2009, Technical.ly published our first article. Fifteen years later, we're still here — but a lot has changed. We're celebrating our anniversary with a look back, and a look forward.

Pittsburgh city government’s website will soon have a new look.

Pittsburghpa.gov has come a long way since its earliest days: In 2009, for instance, the site looked more like a blog, with bare-bones information options for the public to access. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a purple background on a government website. (Check that out below.)

Fifteen years ago, city gov was just learning how crucial digital tools would be for digital engagement and feedback. Now, it knows — and its tech leaders are preparing for a new phase.

Until the end of this week, the Department of Innovation & Performance will be accepting feedback from residents on what they’d like to see in the new version of the website.

Give feedback

With the updated website would come an improved approach to communicating with residents about the City of Pittsburgh’s work, Communications Director Maria Montaño told Technical.ly.

In order to meet the present-day standards, the City has invested in a more “sustainable” system for the city’s website, with upgraded software support. (It appears pittsburghpa.gov’s last website framework update happened in 2019.)

Denver-based civic tech software company Granicus will be leading the redesign.

“We made an investment to pursue getting some different software support,” Montaño told Technical.ly. “So we should have a completely new backend system to make it easier for those of us who are managing the content in the website, to be able to more efficiently upload information so our residents can take advantage of it.”

Pittsburghpa.gov provides information such as how to do business with the city, how to contact different city departments, and how to get a permit for your home renovation project.

“Our website is a piece of critical communications infrastructure for our residents,” Montaño said, and allows government to “send out mass communications through press releases, media advisories, and newsletters.”

The newsletters, along with the other tools, will also be getting an upgrade in this process, which Montaño said is much needed. In the long run, the goal is that these upgrades will bring city gov up to current design standards and protocols.

Montaño acknowledged that the current architecture of the current city website can be confusing for users to navigate. The City wants to make sure that someone visiting Pittsburghpa.gov for the first time is able to get the information they need quickly.

She encourages as many residents to give the city feedback as possible.

“We really want to hear from as many residents as possible on our survey in order to be able to create a website that can help meet the needs and demands of their residents today,” Montaño said.

Just for fun, in honor of Technical.ly’s 15th anniversary, check out what pittsburghpa.gov looked like the year we were founded:

We’ve come a long way, folks.

Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: City of Pittsburgh
Series: Technical.ly 15th Anniversary
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