User centered design
users should have a voice in
the creation of technologies
Interfaces to government can
be simple, beautiful, and
easy to use.
1. Design for people's needs
2. Make it easy for everyone to participate
3. Focus on what government can do
4. Make data easy to find and use
5. Use data to make and improve decisions
6. Choose the right technology for the job
7. Organize for results
21st Century Government
Open data helps make government better.
Governments hold a lot of information that is
valuable — and sometimes critically important
— to residents, organizations, companies, and
Make data easy to
find and use
#1. Data Stewardship
Civic technologists showed what’s
possible online, GIS experts made this
work accurate and sustainable.
Civic Tech Story
LocalData: Bridging the
world of civic tech and GIS
How can we involve residents
to improve vacancy data, quickly?
DESIGN COLLECT ANALYZE + SHARE
DATA DASHBOARDMAP-BASED SURVEYS
1. Uses existing GIS workflows
and data formats
2. Design a collection interface that
didn’t require GIS expertise
Existing, oﬀicial parcel data as a
base map for collection
Oﬀicials, academics and data advocates
trained residents on quality data collection
Residents and preservationists
mapped thousands of parcels
Data was easily exported into
existing formats (shapefiles) and
served through an API
And the data was used by the GIS
department to set demolition
Make it easy for
everyone to participate
Serving everyone means working with, not just for, a true
cross-section of the community. Governments should
proactively collaborate with the community and seek
participation from all residents in decisions that aﬀect
#2. User-centered Design
Tools influenced by existing GIS
workflows can increase accessibility and
city data in Asheville
Making SimpliCity has been a lean operation and much
of the time has been spent on usability testing; skills we've
picked up from CfA.”
Jonathan Feldman, CIO, Asheville, North Carolina
Governments that use “human-centered design
practices” make it a priority in any project to
conduct research with residents to inform a
better picture of who they are, what they need,
and how they behave.
Designing for people’s needs
#3. Communicate in new
Present information in the language of
the people you serve.
Regional Government Story:
Vital Signs: Making open
Modern technology tools and approaches helps government
build trust with their communities and better address the
challenges they face.
Choose the right
technology for the job
#4. Provide context to data
Information and maps are useful
communication devices, the web
requires context to make this
Technologists can show
Civic technologists excel at creating things quickly
and putting them up on the web. They’re not so
good at data stewardship or maintaining agreed
upon geospatial conventions.
The day-to-day insight of working inside government
as a data professional. Special insight into what is
New tools need a louder
Though new tools are being created by so!ware
developers outside of the GIS space, there is an
opportunity to become more involved in the
broader civic technology space.
Context is key.
Without context around data and maps online,
information can become meaningless on the web.
Share your spatial
There is a huge opportunity to share what you
know with members outside your community.
so, let’s build a bridge?
Civic technologists are naturally adapted to both
care about public sector problems, use and support
the use of large datasets and also make maps. Get to