In the past decade, there has been an explosion of online services offered by government. Because technologies are ever-developing and ever-changing, we should be asking: How meaningful are these services and resources?
And because for some politicians press releases are more important than sound policy, we have to ask: Are these new features beneficial or just buggy?
The Ultimate Test: Are these services actually easier than going to City Hall — getting in your car or hopping on the bus, showing up at a public office, standing in line, and speaking with a public employee?
In the era of Gov 2.0, a movement to improve processes for, participation in, and accessibility of government by utilizing advancements in technology, conversations like these are happening across the country. Politicians love to proclaim, “there’s an app for that.” But do these new applications, API’s and platforms actually work to make our governments better and our lives easier?
The Reset Ratings offer a readout on these new online resources. Right now, we are reviewing San Francisco City and County services, but we will expand to state and federal services in the months ahead.
Each service is evaluated using five categories:
- Accessibility: Is this service: offered in languages other than English, intuitive, available on mobile devices, and available offline?
- Ease of Use: Can I do this in my sleep? Really?
- Design: Are the pages and forms visually consistent? Like Steve Krug says, “Don’t make me think!”
- The Guide: If the process isn’t intuitive, does the service offer minimally confusing instructions to walk me through it?
- Feedback: How do I let them know when something isn’t working? Or when I am really happy that something is working?
Each category is rated on a three-point scale, the points are cumulated, and a total grade is assessed out of 15 points: 15/15 = A+, 14/15 = A, 13/15 = A-, and so on.
We’ve given you our thoughts on these services guided by this rubric, but the conversation doesn’t stop here. Tell us what you think: are we right? Then: how can the government do this better?