Today the Center for an Urban Future published a report, Innovation and the City, that lists the Civic User Testing Group, a community-based UX test ing methodology I invented in February 2013, as one of 15 “bold urban policies with a proven record of success”. Here’s a snip:
What most civic tech projects have lacked, how- ever, is an active role for city residents. Dan O’Neil is one of the founders of the civic tech movement. As founder and executive director of Smart Chicago Collaborative, an innovation incubator sponsored through a public-private partnership, he has played an instru- mental role in Chicago’s tech endeavors. But at a certain point, O’Neil became disillusioned with the lack of public engagement in the ingenious parade of apps and special-purpose websites that have garnered so much attention and praise. He observed a lack of interest in meeting the needs of ordinary people, or even finding out what they considered their own needs to be.
Smart Chicago addressed the participation gap by shifting their focus from software development to software testing. Applications can be written by a small group of coders in a windowless room, but that’s only the beginning. In the private sector, companies convene user-experience (UX) groups to try out appli- cations or websites and report their experiences. UX groups are less common in the public sector, and O’Neil had the idea of creating one that would also empower and connect its participants.