On October 12th we met at DesignMap’s offices with 75 others to witness the culmination of a partnership between Code for San Francisco and Designers & Geeks to rethink the user experience of SF Crime Data as part of Provoke, a new event series from Designers & Geeks focused on the redesign of city projects.
The vision of sfcrimedata.org is to satisfy crime reporting needs for SFPD, and other interested parties including watchdog groups, universities, and civic hackers, while ensuring an easily maintainable product.
There is a clear need for skilled designers and product managers among our brigade’s projects. By showcasing how one designer working with a project can make an impactful contribution in a short period, we hope Provoke will help designers better understand our vision for open source civic tech projects. The concept for the Provoke events grew out of talks with Joe Robinson, the organizer of Designers + Geeks, about how best to foster collaboration between San Francisco’s design community and Code for San Francisco’s civic hackers.
The event kicked off with pizza and conversation, as all good tech meetups do, but at 7:30 we moved into the main event of the evening, a presentation by designer Joey Golaw, who worked with the SF Crime Data team to redesign the user experience of sfcrimedata.org. He spent the first half of the presentation making a compelling case about why designers should get involved in civic technology projects by highlighting the current lack of expertise in this area and the impact that is possible by redesigning the government to be more user friendly.
Joey moved on to discuss how he approached rethinking the experience of sfcrimedata.org by applying human centered design principles. He started the process by surveying the existing landscape of smilar tools, as well as reading interviews of crime statisticians to get a better feel for the end-users of this application. He moved through two iterations of possibilities for the UI. The first broke out the UI based on the two groups of users, crime statisticians and the general public, which were viewed as having different needs to meet by visiting the site. It was later realized that they could reunify the UI to serve both user groups and create a cleaner experience.
Paul Hennings, the project lead for SF Crime Data, then offered a few thoughts about the redesign and talked about next steps for the project. He plans to take the designs proposed by Joey and break them down into actionable issues for brigade volunteers to hack on in the coming weeks.
Want to be part of the sfcrimedata.org team? Stop by an upcoming hack night.