Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has spent much of his three terms shepherding New York's march into the Internet age. He has encouraged the creation of new apps for finding public bathrooms and avoiding dangerous bike routes, among others. He has deployed a squad of data-crunchers to streamline everyday services. And one of his dearest wishes has been to transform the city into a second Silicon Valley.
All the while, the Internet face of Mr. Bloomberg's high-tech government has languished halloween party in a box the pre-Facebook era. NYC.gov was established in 2000, when Rudolph W. Giuliani was mayor, the city's 311 services line did not exist and the first iPhone was seven years from distracting anybody. NYC.gov had plenty of text, an unglamorous warren of drop-down menus and a clunky search engine. Yet after a series of decidedly smartphone-age steps, including creating its own cloud computing network, the city unveiled a new NYC.gov on Sunday afternoon - the site's first redesign since 2003.
Visitors can tell at a glance whether alternate-side parking is in effect, whether garbage will be collected that day and whether schools are in session. A yellow box allows residents to pay their property taxes and parking tickets, file 311 complaints or report noisy neighbors without leaving the home page. Mayoral announcements will be live-streamed. And Google now provides the search.
"It's the face of the City of New York, and it's reflected that through various different stages, but it also reflects where the Internet was at the time," said Rachel S. Haot, the city's chief digital officer. "The Internet had changed a lot since that original look and feel."
The redesign has been planned since 2011, when Mr. Bloomberg included it among other goals for the city's digital future. The city held a hackathon, during which programmers and designers brainstormed new looks for the site, and hired a Brooklyn firm, Huge Inc., to create the final design.
Many of the changes are based on data on what the site's 35 million annual unique visitors tend to look for - most commonly, information on parking, transit, garbage collection and school openings, Ms. Haot said. (If the new site's many avenues for airing grievances are any indication, its visitors are also fond of complaining.)
"It's completely data-driven," she said, "just like Mayor Bloomberg."
Though few were surfing the Internet on cellphones when it started, the Web site is now fully accessible on smartphones and tablets, shape-shifting to accommodate different screen sizes. Ms. Haot said a quarter of the site's visitors were arriving through mobile devices, a number that continues to grow.
As the Web site changed colors and fonts, the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications was overhauling the infrastructure behind it. Though the site collapsed under the strain of the traffic Hurricane Irene brought in 2011, it withstood heavy use during Hurricane Sandy last year, and it can now accommodate new social media platforms and other changes, said Rahul N. Merchant, the chief information and innovation officer.
It was, Mr. Merchant said, "a good time to refresh - a good time to bring it into the next century."