By Data-Smart City Solutions • December 5, 2018

This part of a series of features to highlight key lessons from A New City O/S by Stephen Goldsmith and Neil Kleiman. 

Key Insights

  • Full commitment to the user experience is central to the new O/S. UX is about ensuring the customer gets the most from the product; this business principle also needs to be applied to government.
  • UX demands tireless attention to making citizens’ services as easy to understand and navigate as possible.
  • Every time a citizen interacts with government, there is an opportunity to build or erode trust; UX is a means to win that trust.
  • UX is as applicable for city employees as it is for citizens. Good UX increases civil servants’ efficacy by helping solve problems with well visualized, easy to understand data.

Quick Tips

  • Most policy implementation begins with the administering agency. The very first step should be design thinking around the user.
  • Context is critical to good UX, whether spatial or demographic. It is best practice to include as many contexts as possible - and a system for updating them.
  • UX must be applied to multiple channels such as email, SMS text, mobile, and personal communication. Good UX is marked by citizen engagement and should engender citizen participation in service and policy reforms.

Potential Problems

  • Cities cannot solely depend on website updates and 311 systems. UX requires consideration of citizens’ preferences for information and services from a variety of channels.
  • City Hall must acknowledge the gravity of data privacy and security by establishing clear and transparent policies as well as a process to ensure those policies are followed.

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