How design can improve citizen engagement with government agencies

The city of Milwaukee engaged a local advertising agency to help communicate with the public in a more concise, consistent way. Their first step was to review online assets for several major police departments, put them on a wall and search for ways to deliver a better experience for citizens.

They were able to distill all the information they need to communicate to five sections–all delivered from one page. They also added a section called The Source that shares unfiltered news from the department.

Read the article from Fast Company.

You really can’t fully appreciate this website until you see how it works. While the design is rich and deep, the navigation is actually super simple and there are only around 5 pages. Play with it here: milwaukeepolicenews.com.

A New Public Service: the Civic Stack Thought Experiment

Joe Merante, a 2012 Code for America Fellow, recently proposed a thought experiment about what he terms the “Civic Stack.” His thoughts resonate with me.

As a software developer, I reason about technology solutions in terms of a “stack.” That is, a stack describes the layers of technology, their discrete roles in the solution, and how these layered components coordinate and collaborate to produce the solution. Continue reading