Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: email@example.com
Smiley Cat's to be exact. Smiley Cat is a web manager for a children's hospital, who moonlights as a web designer. "You'd think that the official tourism web site for each state would try to show off its best 'assets' to maximum effect," he writes. "At least, I did - and I was wrong; very wrong in some cases."
Massachusett's, for instance, left him irritated. "What's up with with the mystery meat navigation?" Indeed, it's anyone's best guess what you're clicking on when you click on the "now" the "do" and the "go" words near the ever-flipping photos on the home page. As for Nebraska, why would anyone visit based on the web site, Cat wonders. He knows no more about the state after he arrived at the site than he did before. And he didn't think the "Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop" coming up would be a particularly big draw for potential visitors.
South Carolina's color scheme left him cold. Was it a matter of "try anything and see if it sticks?" he asked. I especially had a problem with the rust-red typeface lined up right next to a block of violet. (insert shudder here)
Smiley Cat, who also goes by Christian Watson, grouped 15 states as "the best" and the rest as, well, "the rest." States from California to Kentucky to South Dakota made the best list. Watson doesn't make specific comments about all 50 sites. But states still might want see where they stand, in terms of aesthetics and effectiveness, at least in one "expert's" eyes.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.