City's considering mobile version of its website
Gahanna City Council is considering a $5,310 contract with AFS Web to create a mobile version of the city's website.
Public-information manager Brian Hoyt said AFS recently redesigned gahanna.gov, and the mobile version would allow the city's most-used pages to be viewed and used on mobile devices.
Currently, Hoyt said, 25 percent of the city's web visits come from mobile devices or smartphones.
"If they access the web from a phone, it will be seamless," he said. "It will make it easier for residents and businesses to use."
Council member Brandon Wright asked why an application -- "app" -- couldn't be considered instead.
"Being the user of a smartphone, I'd rather hit an app," he said.
Hoyt said apps are more expensive to create and users would have to download it.
"We looked at Columbus' app, and with the cost of downloading, it makes no sense," he said. "This is one time and we're done. News, contacts and calendar will be buttons. It will act like an app. It will be flexible. It gives flexibility but will look and feel like an app."
Hoyt said funds are available for the mobile website in the public-information promotions account. He said Gahanna continues to see steady increases in its online traffic and usage and marked increases in social-media participation across all accounts.
Because of the close coordination between the Gahanna.gov website and social-media program, Hoyt said, the city continues to reach out to an audience in the virtual spaces in which they are.
He said the city's website itself is housed offsite and hosted by AFS Web, thus reducing maintenance man-hours, provides regular updates and upgrades and allowing Gahanna.gov to remain online in the event that the city's servers are down.
Hoyt said Gahanna aggressively continues to employ a wide variety of communication methods, including online and social media.
He said one of the primary benefits of this medium is its ability to provide such information as financial reports, budgets, events, contact information and city services to the public 24 hours a day.
"While a smartphone application may seem to be a solution to being more accessible by mobile devices, we believe, based on industry best practices, that a web-based mobile version of Gahanna.gov is a better choice," he said. "Not only is it significantly more cost-effective, but it is also easier to update, doesn't require users to download any software and will work on any device regardless of their browser or operating system."