Hopscotch Labs spent the last year (2015) understanding what residents want and expect from the City of San Diego’s website experience. The resulting strategy and execution were tested multiple times with residents to insure that it was on target with the initial research, and that the experience of the new identity and new site was in line with what residents and staff needed and wanted the City to project to the world.

During the last round of website usability testing, during the Alpha stage, Hopscotch uncovered major challenges to successfully accessing information on the website. Content was the last frontier that needed a wholesale overhaul. The City had undertaken a rewrite for the top 300 pages. However, based on resident and staff feedback the copy didn’t answer the questions they came to the site for, it wasn’t user centric. We also identified major challenges to getting those answers: the content was often duplicated across multiple pages and in sections that had nothing to do with the search.

This was a much bigger problem than anticipated. Hopscotch was at the end of its contract with the City. And, City staff were at a loss for how to effectively attack the problem quickly to allow for the launch of the website. Enter SDXD. Hopscotch Labs founder and SDXD board member, Kristine Angell, suggested a content hackathon—an opportunity to quickly identify broad topic areas of need and address user content needs in a short period of time. A hackathon addressed project concerns: make it a community-based solution; use best practices; and resolve it quickly and effectively. It also helped the local UX community gain experience in a challenging sector (civic design), and in co-creating with your target audience. A win win.

The resulting workshop lasted four hours and included over 80 people—UX and design professionals mixed with the citizen researchers who participated in the usability testing, and residents with a variety of backgrounds (retirees, business professionals, home owners). Teams developed executions for permits, bicycling and transportation, visitors, and parks among others.

Hopscotch Labs sees its projects through to the end. We believe it’s important to not only do the research and develop a successful design strategy, but also to help our clients successfully implement strategy and design recommendations. Our client’s success is our success.

You can read more about the hackathon on: http://www.meetup.com/s-d-x-d/events/228250114/

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