Local governments are responsible for shaping policies and programs that directly affect citizens. But with more than 89,000 local governments in the United States with no standardized way of communicating with citizens, it is often difficult for citizens to receive important updates, understand how their elected officials are working for them and find crucial information related to their local government.
Our plan consisted of conducting both market research as well as user research. Our hypothesis assumed that government sites were difficult to use so it was important to validate this assumption and if true, determine what exactly makes them difficult to use. We came up with the following research questions to help guide us
We focused mainly on sites where one could find information about New York. This included the New York City site, New York state site, Rochester site as well as the New York Times and Twitter.
NYC.gov is the main government site used to access information about New York City. In order to cater to the population of 8.3 million people, the site must cover a wide variety of information. In order to make information easier to find, it is split up into categories and then further categorized into subcategories. Important information, however, becomes buried and can take several clicks to find.
The New York state site covers a more higher level of state related stuff rather than city specific. Like NYC.gov, information gets buried deep beneath menus. In some cases, important information is almost impossible to find and not where one would expect it
We surveyed 109 people over the age of 18 who either lived in New York or commuted. I spoke to 3 out of the 9 people interviewed who were recruited from reddit and social media. Interviews were remote and conducted over Zoom. Interview and the survey included questions about the following
Based on insights from the research, we created several user stories for a more in depth understanding of what the user wants and why. This provided us with a clear idea of what features were needed on the site to help the user achieve their goal.
Due to the lack of sites geared towards providing more local information, I focused this concept on providing users with three separate feeds for their subscribed content, information regarding their neighborhood as well as information regarding their borough. The page also displays the most recent updates in regards to their area.
Although officials have their own feeds for users to follow, users cannot like or comment on content in order to maintain credibility as Government Communication
The user should receive a reply from the official or someone from their administration within to time stated. If delayed, they would receive a notification to keep them let them updated
We focused mostly on including information in the top right quadrant as that was the highest priority. Anything in the yellow closest to the edge was deemed the next most important and included for the most part.
A total of 11 users were asked to complete three tasks. Tests were done remotely with 3 being unmoderated and the rest being moderated. Think aloud as well as concurrent probing methods were used during each task and after we asked followed up questions
The following indicates what tested well with users