Since January, 2003
 Sliding from Before to After

Dear Office of Zoning: I like you guys, I really do. All your transcripts and orders are online, and you're pretty good with putting meeting information on the web in a timely fashion (though I can still dream of the day when applicant submittals are all posted as PDFs). But this new calendar you've come up with, it's a travesty, and I say that not just as a member of the public and a user, but as a web application developer. Instead of the old calendar, where you can easily look at an entire month's worth of agendas on one screen, we're now forced to click on each meeting's entry and wait for a god-awful-slow pop-up window to appear (we're talking 5-plus seconds, and that's even after you realize you have to double-click and not single-click the calendar entry, though it loads faster if you go directly to the URL instead of having to click the calendar and get a pop-up); and then the pop-up we've waited on so long is a huge window with a tremendous amount of wasted space telling me a small piece of information. This, my noble public servants, is absolutely rotten design. The old calendar may not have been flashy, but it works and works fast. This new way makes it nearly unusable. Please give some thought, at the very least, to an alternate view that maintains the old list method of getting to the information--clearly you've gone to a database-driven app, which in and of itself is fine (believe me, I know a thing or two about databases), but it's not that hard to spit out records in list form. Or, beyond that, you could start an e-mail list that e-mails out your agendas and calendar changes, like other agencies. Because those of us who spend a lot of time alerting the public to the good work you do are going to stop doing so if we can't easily get to your information. Either that or I'm going to tell Mayor Fenty on you, and then you'll REALLY be in trouble. Love, JD.
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