Creating more equitable services

“Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.” — Michelle Obama

“Becoming” is a difficult concept that recognizes that we constantly change. It runs counterintuitive to our innate desire for instant gratification and fulfillment. While most people associate “becoming” with personal growth paradigms, over the past year I’ve begun to think of it in terms of the work I do as a civil servant.

In government there is very little incentive and often negative consequences to change. Government workers are under heightened scrutiny, which creates a focus on accountability above all. In reality, we operate in and design systems that prioritize certain groups of residents over others. …


Help us test and improve our new data privacy game

From health to transportation to finance, the desire for data is greater than ever. Data is often a composition of people’s experiences, their morning commutes, where they live and work, who they love, what type of cereal they like to eat. We use this information to make decisions around infrastructure, to sell products, to understand whether or not organizations are being equitable. But as we make more data available, it’s important to acknowledge and identify potential risks and harms when we release data connected to individuals.

To explore these considerations, the Office of Design and Delivery is making a data privacy game for data analysts of any skill level, including you! It walks players through different types of data and potential risks. Our team is in the testing and iterating phase and looking for feedback. Play around and let me know what you think in the comments, or email me at SarahS.Rodriguez@austintexas.gov. …


Ever pondered what your city’s website would look like in a non-digital format, as a physical object? If you live in Austin, wonder no more!

For this year’s Digital Inclusion Week, the City’s Office of Design and Delivery put together an exhibit of all the portable document format (PDF) forms hosted on the city’s website, austintexas.gov. The installation, which displayed over 500 PDF forms, was only a fraction of the 6,566 PDF documents that currently exist on the city’s website.

The goal of the installation was to create awareness about the need to digitize services. Besides cutting down on paper, digitization (when done right) makes services more accessible. If you want to learn about other digitization efforts, and why they’re so important, check out the work done in Boston by Josh Gee.

About

787## Design

A Native Austinite, Chicana, and Civic Designer. A little bit qualitative, a little bit quantitative, not much rock & roll.

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