Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to approve a $55,000 contract with a California firm to redesign and host the city’s website.

The city’s current website was developed at a cost of $20,000 in 2010 and is hosted in-house by city staff.

Now looks like this: The City of Evanston website today.

The contractor, Vision Internet, was recommended by city staff after a review of proposals from 15 potential vendors.

In a memo to aldermen, Deputy City Manager Erika Storlie says Vision has done websites for cities across the country, including at least 11 in Illinois. Its price for the job was toward the low end of the range provided by other bidders, and it scored highest in an evaluation of the proposals.

The price also is toward the low end of costs for websites produced for seven other Chicago-area communities that city staff checked.

Or it might look like this: A Vision Internet website for Ames, Iowa.

One goal of the project is to update the website to work well on mobile devices. Another, Storlie says, is to increase reliability and security and let the city’s information technology staff focus on other responsibilities.

Storlie says the city’s website averages over 74,000 visitors and 260,000 page views a month.

Assuming the project stays on schedule, the new website could launch in October or November.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Have NU students do it—support local people
    Surely NU students and advisors [art, marketing, tech] should be able to do it much better and faster. Also help students finances and experience.
    If not NU, surely Evanston has people who could do it.
    Has the Council given up on residents/students being able to do anything useful ?
    No wonder the Council doomed the Research Park—and continue to kill homegrown business.

    1. This is not a WEB PAGE

      It is a Web SITE that has to interact with city databases in real time.

      This is not an appropriate project for a student that will disappear in a few years and it is also MUCH larger in scope than one may realize.  That being said, I like the current city website as-is but it really does need to be updated to work better with mobile devices. 

      1. So Evanston has no one ?

        The post said:

        "This is not an appropriate project for a student that will disappear in a few years"


        So a Web development company in Californiia will retain all its workers forever ?—anyone who knows the chance of that are non-existent and an NU freshman will have a longer tenure than the person in California at the job.  And they will drop all they are doing to come to Evanston to fix problems esp. they involve city computers and problems that you can't fix online.

        Probably NU students will be ablel to train and leave documentation when they graduate.  The faculty advisers will still be here., 

        Even if there was no person or company in Evanston to handle this [VERY doubtful], is there no one in Chicago, Chicagoland or Illinois ?

        The Council wants contractors [buildings, roads and such] to employ Evanston residents/companies/minorities or at least Chicagoland people but instead they give a contract to California ?  Not much confidence in Evanston resident or companies ! 

        The Council gave up on manufacturing and given the limited selection of stores with clothing, appliances, and other things residents want, maybe we should just be the restaurant capital of Illinois or turn to farming where current businesses exist.  Or maybe just turn over recruiting/mentoring business to NU—they seem to do a much better job at it.

        How many Evanston/Chicago were given an R.F.P ?

  2. A logical move

    I like the existing web site, particularly the fact that it is information-rich and has very deep menus, but I understand that sites need to be redesigned now and again to take advantage of new technologies and to conform to more modern styles. It most definitely is NOT a suitable project for a student. You want a company to do this in order to provide continuity and support into the future and extend the web site if need be, even though city employees will maintain most of the content. To hire a specialist firm to do this is also a good move. While we do have several web development firms in town, a city site has specific needs, and a boutique firm will save Evanston time and expense in getting the job done, and done well.

    1. Real costs?

      I'm all for saving money, but when one contractor says he can do it for 45% less than the others [and apparently 1/7 of one contractors bid, anyone who has worked with a contractor knows 1. Somebody did not know what goes into the real contract's requirements, or  2.  Someone has lied, or 3. The "winner" will claim the requestor did not specify what was really needed or "something" actually cost more than when they bid—and they need much more money to complete the contract [after having done enough that someone else can't take it over].

      Bids should be within a reasonable range of each other or you know something is wrong.

      I smell $$$ more to be the final cost.

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