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November 10, 2010

Checking The MSWD Website

At last night's town hall forum at Mission Springs Water District there was one complaint from a citizen that stuck with me, and rather than wait the day or two that it will take me to summarize the whole forum, I want to check it out right now. The complaint was part of a list of suggestions to improve the district's website. Specifically, the person said that he could not find a copy of the 218 notice anywhere on the website. Now, I usually love to be irritated by the shortcomings of websites and enjoy criticizing them on Ron's Log. I couldn't recall any such shortcoming on the MSWD site, so I lept to my Mac to find out if I had missed out on some fun.

No, I had not. I'm sorry to say that finding the 218 notice on the MSWD website is damn easy. I have grabbed a couple of pages from the website and highlighted the obvious with some very obvious red arrows to help.

Here's a copy of the front page (go here to see the real page).
Mission Springs Water District - Home (2010 11 10)
(click for bigger, as usual)

The arrow points to the fourth paragraph. First paragraph is "welcome;" second is award-winning water; third is a paragraph about the Desert Sun editorial in favor of the $35 million for sewers (that's outdated info but, you know what, it costs money to have somebody revise the website); and finally the fourth paragraph very clearly titled "2010 Proposed Rate Adjustment." Hard to miss that. Last line of the paragraph says "Click here for more information." Clear message there.

One click and we come to a page with nothing but information about the rate proposals.
Mission Springs Water District - Proposed Rate Action (2010 11 10)

The arrow points to the third paragraph which says "Read the Proposition 218 Notice to Property Owners: English | Spanish." There ya go. The line under that has links to the "fact sheet" in English and Spanish.

Yes, they could have the front page link at the very top and highlighted it in a red box, or something like that. But I'd say it's totally adequate as it is. If you put a gun to my head and demanded a suggestion, I'd suggest getting rid of the paragraph about the Desert Sun editorial, or move it elsewhere. That would bring the rate proposal paragraph nearer the top of the page.

My main complaint (and it's extraordinarily trivial) about the MSWD website is when you go looking for water rates, it's on Customer Service page labeled "Cost of water service." In my mind "Cost of water service" should mean "cost of water service," which is what it costs the district to drill wells, pump water, buy electricity, maintain pipes, etc. Water rates, OTOH, should be identified with something like "Water Rates" or "Water Prices" or even something more 5th Grade like "What you pay for water" or "What we charge for water."

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Web/Tech | permalink | November 10, 2010 at 07:03 AM

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