How do I license my dog in San Francisco? Fido, Web 2.0 ... Web 2.0, Fido

Reset Rating: B (11/15 points)

Link: http://www.sfgov2.org/index.aspx?page=1047

In San Francisco, it is illegal to own a dog without licensing your pet (and apparently people should license dogs for other reasons, legality aside). To attempt to make it easier on you, the dog owner, SFgov.org has created an online process to apply for a San Francisco dog license, so you don’t have to traipse to a vet or a city office to take care of this.

Breaking it down:

Accessibility: 2 out of 3

The dog licensing service can be accessed on the web from the SFgov.org home page (through the “Online Services” porthole), and of course, you can still visit any number of listed local animal clinics, hospitals, and shelterswhere you can get a dog license in-person.

Neither the online dog licensing form nor the instructions leading to the form are available in any languages other than English, and there is no translator tool featured.

Ease of Use: 3 out of 3

There aren’t many twists and turns to the process of licensing your pet online. Read the instructions; fill out the dog license application; pay the dog license fee; boom.

Design: 2 out of 3

The pages leading from the SFgov.org home page to the Animal Care and Control license page are visually consistent and clean.

But, when you select the “Obtain Your Dog License On-line” link, you are sent through a gap in the space-time continuum to a page with a form that has not been visually revamped since 2003. Changes in typeface, color blocks, etc exist in the dog license application for no apparent reason than perhaps the preferences of the editor du jour.

The Guide: 3 out of 3

The instructions for how to get a dog license are clear and easy to follow.

User Feedback: 1 out of 3

The pet license service completely lacks an advertised feedback form or help section, and while the pet licensing process is reasonably intuitive, it is important for each online service to have a trouble-shooting service. The “Contact Us” section in the left-hand navigation bar on the “License Fees” page offers a list of contact numbers. None are listed as tech services, so I’d recommend calling “General Information” if the website eats your work without explanation.

Test Drive of SFGov.org

If you click on the “Online Services” on the SFgov.org main page and scroll to “Dog License” under “Payment Services.” From there, select “Obtain Your Dog License Online” at the top of the page, and then proceed to fill out the provided form. Not a ton of complications here.

Slightly problematic: Unless you ask Google to translate the SF dog license application, this is an example of yet another city services page that is not multilingual.

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