By: Katie Short
You’re taking a weekend bike ride through Golden Gate Park, and you come upon a potholethat would have taken you out had you not seen it in time. San Francisco should fix this — and they say they will, if you report it.
So, you pull over, pull out your iPhone, and navigate to San Francisco’s 311 site. From there, you are able to note the location of the pothole and city employees will be out there in 1-5 days, according to the website, to take care of the problem.
Maybe not as Gov 2.0 as Boston’s Street Bump program and certainly behind SeeClickFix(where some San Francisco potholes are already being reported), but not too bad.
Accessibility: 2 out of 3
The links from the SF311 main page to the form for the service are clear, and relatively easy to find.
And, there is on an online translation service for this process, thanks to Google Translate. The link for the Google Translate service shifts from the right side of the page to the left when you move from the main page to the service page, and this shift in location can make it harder to immediately find it once you’re in the site.
Sadly, despite the Google Translate option being available on the process pages, it is not available once you are on the form. The form is in English only. So, if you need the service in another language, you can call the 311 customer service numbers listed at the base of each page.
Ease of Use: 3 out of 3
The process involves an intuitive selection of links to get you from start to finish.
Design: 2.5 of 3
The design of the pages is clean and meaningful, even though there are elementary icons dotting the 311 page. The formatting of the pages does not change in the process, minus the pop-out window with the reporting form. The only suggestion might be to configure the site so the form is not a pop-out, and flows from the previous page seamlessly.
The Guide: 2.5 out of 3
In the 311 navigation bar, not the SFgov universal navigation bar, there is a mouse-over, drop-down menu entitled “Contact Us.” From that menu, if you select “General FAQs,” it will take you to a page with some general trouble-shooting guidance for using the site.
There are also phone numbers listed at the base of the pages which you can presumably call with questions about the process. But the thing about phone calls is once you’re on the phone with the service, you might as well file the report over the phone rather than trying to troubleshoot the online service making it not particularly Gov 2.0.
User Feedback: 2.5 out of 3
At the base of the defects page, there’s a link, “Provide feedback on our new self service features” . This feedback mechanism allows you to leave comments and complaints regarding the 311 services.
As mentioned in the BikeMapper Reset Rating review, while there is a feedback mechanism, because it is not publicly displayed and there’s no immediate check on the city department to fix or address issues reported.
Finding the site…
Start at the sf311.org home page, and choose “Streets & Sidewalks.” From the “Streets and Sidewalks” page, click “Street/Sidewalk Defects,” and choose the type of problem to be reported, i.e. a street/road defect, as well as a location for that problem (a park or other locations). Once the problem and location are selected, a pop-up window will appear for you to enter the relevant information to report the problem.