Civic News

Why the city’s website sucks (and what City Hall technologists are doing about it)

“Our neighbors deserve better,” said director of civic technology Aaron Ogle, “because for city government, the user is our neighbor.”

Aaron Ogle speaks at the 2015 Code for America Summit in Oakland, Calif.

(Photo by Drew Bird)

We love this: Aaron Ogle, who’s kind of like the consumer advocate for user experience in City Hall, takes down the old Phila.gov, explaining point by point how it was designed for the government and not for its users. Philadelphians, that is.
“Our neighbors deserve better,” said Ogle, the city’s director of civic technology, “because for city government, the user is our neighbor.” (That’s a phrase Ogle coined in his Code for America talk this fall.)
That’s why Ogle and his team are working on a redesign, which you can see at alpha.phila.gov. It’s still, as its name suggests, in alpha, but you can check it out in non-alpha mode in one place so far: Mayor Kenney’s new phila.gov/mayor goes straight to the alpha.phila.gov website.
The city’s new digital director Stephanie Waters told us she’ll be working with the Office of Innovation and Technology and other departments to transition the alpha.phila.gov websites into official mode.

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