After failing on the first attempt at launching a redesigned Tennessee state government website, the new version — prominently featuring a new state logo — was put into place over the weekend without apparent glitches.
The website (www.tn.gov) devotes a page to the new design that declares it will “make it easier for you to find the information you are looking for.” Prominently displayed are links to pages promoting various initiatives of Gov. Bill Haslam – “Drive to 55,” “Healthy Tennessee” and such.
Less prominent are new features, including such things as whether the state flag should be flown at full-staff or half-staff at any given time. The governor occasionally orders state flags lowered to half-staff, typically to honor a prominent person’s death or in accordance with presidential orders on flying the U.S. flag at half-staff.
The controversial new state logo, developed at the request of Haslam’s administration at a cost of $46,000 and featuring the abbreviation TN in white against a red background, is in the top left corner of every page. But the old “Tri-Star” state symbol, featuring the three white stars of the state flag against a blue background, is on the bottom of most pages.
Haslam has said the administration contracted for development of the new logo in coordination with launching of the redesigned website. After the new logo was reported by media last month, prompting widespread criticism, he stressed that the TN logo was an effort to provide more uniformity in symbols used by state departments – he says there are a total of about 175 – but that the new logo would not replace the “Tri-Star” entirely.
The first attempt at launching the new website came on the weekend of June 5-6, Transportation Commissioner John Schroer told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press editorial board – doing so “inadvertently,” the newspaper reported, since the administration apparently did not want to publicize the failure.
Tennessee Watchdog, meanwhile, obtained a memo circulated by the Department of Environment and Conservation discussing the first-try flop.
“When OIR (state Office of Information and Research) deployed the new TN.gov platform with the Content Management System (CMS) databases this weekend, OIR noticed the entire site was running very slow,” the memo says. “To avoid creating negative first impressions for visitors, they decided to pull the new site down and review all applications and databases to see what may be causing this slowness (latency).”
Lola Potter, spokeswoman for the state Department of Finance and Administration, which includes OIR, characterized the first-try failure as no big deal.
“It’s not unusual to do some testing and go back to change a few things,” she said.
Potter said the Tennessee has “always finished in the top five” in annual ratings of state websites by Governing magazine and is redesigned periodically, often each year.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the state’s application to trademark the new logo, but Haslam spokesman David Smith said last week the state may appeal the decision.
Note: Post on initial try HERE.