What would you charge to redesign an existing website, to give it an updated look? How about $1.7 million. That's what the Hawaii Department of Education just paid to have their website, http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/, redesigned. Now, I've built a few websites over the years, nothing quite as extensive as the DOT website, and I know that it can take some effort. But there are tools and plug-ins and apps that make it more like drag-and-drop than building something from scratch. Anyone who really knows what they're doing and has suitable experience with web design should be able to do a site re-design at a very reasonable cost. There's no indication about who did the work. But $1.7 million? C'mon!
I think they did a great job with the website. There’s certainly a lot of information on there, and it’s a much friendlier website than the default doe.hi.k12 website that I used a decade ago when I was looking for information on the DOE website.
Regardless of how much they actually spent on it, I’m glad they took a step forward in consolidating all the ideas and the information into something that regular developers can take and analyze.
Before you start criticizing the website, because that’s what the staradvertiser tends to do on education articles (no substance, simply rally a mob of negative discussions)
I took a look at the sort of content that they provide.
You can now take a look at all the AP courses that are offered in each of the public high schools in a single link.
You can simply search for it, and it's easily available.
If you're searching for a school, hell, there's a map for that. Have you ever wondered what constitute a district (like boundary of where you live goes to what school, they color coded the damn thing for you to see).
If you were a student, do you know how difficult it is to find resources on scholarships? College isn't getting cheaper.
Take a look at this. You can SEARCH for scholarships you want. I had to beg my college counselor years ago for information and dig through the school bulletin for each available scholarship for me 8 years ago.
If you are a developer and you're fascinated by data all around you, and you want to see how Hawaii schools are really doing, instead of relying on vague information from the newspapers [KHON, HawaiiNewsNow, StarAdvertiser, Civilbeat], do your own research.
The Hawaii government's been going more open data, which is quite an impressive feat, considering the IT department is using 1990 technology (citation came from the IT department head of Honolulu, which I believe was recently hired by Mayor Kirk Caldwell) and the education department is slowly adapting into it.
Now, given all this, is it worth 1.7 million? If 1.7 million is included in a long term maintenance of this website, and more content that is available to developers that can analyze the data, I believe that it is worth it.
If they spent 1.7 million to create all the contents of this website and make a nicer looking webpage, then I would think they have taken a gamble with how useful it will be in the future, not that it was a waste or anything.
What's $1.7 million divided by the average salary of a highly qualified programmer for one year ... just wondering. And -- it MIGHT include operating costs for a set amount of years -- like SAAS fees for 5 years, for example, or a 5 year IT consulting plan ... or so I'd like to think ....