Huntington Beach launches new city website

Huntington Beach's new city website, in development for nearly two years, launched on Monday.
Huntington Beach’s new city website, in development for nearly two years, launched on Monday.
(Matt Szabo)

The city of Huntington Beach launched its new website on Monday morning, the culmination of a nearly two-year project.

The address remains the same,

City public affairs manager Jennifer Carey called the new website a “huge undertaking” for the communications department, which included working with a contractor to eliminate nearly 50% of the pages that were on the previous website.


“Even for me, as staff, it was hard to locate information,” she said. “My hope is that this really fixes that for people and helps them get what they need quicker.”

She said the back-end management system was so convoluted on the old website that to make edits or changes, city staff would have to go through information services, similar to a help desk ticket.

“We are essentially empowering our staff and the subject matter experts to be their own editors and update content on the fly, not having to rely on a technology professional to make those changes for them,” Carey said. “The hope is that by it being user-friendly on the back end, we can enhance the experience on the front end as well.”

The site will be working out the kinks in the coming days, including on a new curated search page that greets visitors on the home screen.

“We are able to monitor the analytics of how many people are visiting our site, and what pages are they predominantly visiting,” Carey said. “Based on that, we’re able to curate the search features so that those items pop up to the top. We’re making those top hits front and center.”

Google is still indexing the new pages, she said, so that search functionality is expected to continuously improve.

Huntington Beach's new city website easily translates into dozens of languages, including Spanish.
Huntington Beach’s new city website easily translates into dozens of languages, including Spanish.
(Matt Szabo)

Aesthetically, the new site features background pictures of some iconic Surf City locales. A button on the right side allows site text to be translated into dozens of languages.

“Obviously, our primary focus is always the residents and the businesses here, but we are a big tourism city,” Carey said. “We see people from all over the world coming here to Huntington Beach, and if we want to maintain that reputation as a world destination then we need to enhance our offerings to account for that.”

Scrolling down, users will find “quick links” — buttons that allow visitors to do things like request a service, make a payment or search for a city committee agenda. The buttons are customizable based on what people are clicking.

Further down on the page is Huntington Beach city news and events. Carey said she anticipates the city’s news website Surf City Break, as well as the city’s Homeless Solutions and Business Development pages, eventually going away in favor of this one-stop shop.

She encouraged visitors to use a survey function that pops up in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

“We’re still in this migration process,” Carey said. “It’s by no means a 100%, absolutely perfect, finished product. But that’s really why we have that survey feature available. If residents see anything that’s not working, or they know a way that it could work better, we want to hear from you.”