Case Studies

 

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles

 

Working with Governor Cuomo’s Communications Department and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, we overhauled the DMV  brand as part of a statewide Customer Service Initiative.  


The problem

As the face of state government to most New Yorkers, the Department of Motor Vehicles had a reputation for being inefficient and technologically backward.

The solution

Our creative strategy promotes the DMV as the friendly, capable, efficient agency it is today. Its state-of-the-art website and offices meet the diverse needs of millions of New Yorkers each day. The brand welcomes visitors to the website whose information architecture satisfies the needs of both individuals and organizations. Its content is written in federally mandated 'Plain English'  and its message easily syndicated via social media networks.  Like all websites we design today, the site is also responsive to whether a visitor is using their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer to view the site.

In settling on the best user experience - we performed extensive user tests to establish benchmarks for measuring success of the site - and to identify and resolve any issues with the new site’s user-interface. The site is built using the open source CMS Drupal with special attention to Section 508 compliance, Search Engine Optimization, and integration with Social Media platforms. Its features include interactive maps, a browsable database of forms, and the use of taxonomy to present relevant forms alongside editorial content.

We provided content development in the form of a strong Information Architecture, an analysis of existing content, the recommendation of new content, stock photo research, original illustration, and the training of close to 100 staff members to rewrite hundreds of pages of Web site content using Plain Language guidelines. We also created key pages in six languages including: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Italian, Haitian Creole, and Korean.

The reuse

The website's conversational tone supports the agency’s key message  "Welcome to the DMV, how can we help you today?" This is carried over into the physical design of the DMV offices. 

The accolades

We're so proud that the site has won aPinnacle Award (decided by a panel of experts from inside and outside government), a National Association of Government Web Designer Members’ Choice Award (decided by popular vote), as well as a Best Website Award from DMV.com whose praise included:

"The New York DMV website is very user friendly with a forms search application that is quite handy and a conveniently located 'Save time, do it online' button." 

 

 

New York City Office of the Public Advocate

The Public Advocate For The City of New York ensures that all New Yorkers receive the City services they deserve and have a voice in shaping the policies of their government. As Public Advocate Bill de Blasio explains “Public Advocate’s role is to push our bureaucracy to become more responsive and hold our elected leaders accountable to the needs of the people.”

The problem

The Public Advocate was challenged with the problem of tracking constituent communications (suggestions, complaints, even praise) and disseminating the responsibility of responding to them.

The solution


OpenBureau founders implemented a modern web-based Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system to replace the legacy system; saving costs to the City and implementing new desired features without creating future dependency on outside support. Built on the open-source Drupal and CiviCRM software platforms, this solution, empowers Public Advocate to create constituent cases starting with communications delivered via face-to-face encounters, e-mail, phone, 311 calls and more. These cases then follow a prescribed workflow and timeline and are disseminated among staff for optimum resolution.

The reuse

The Public Advocates CRM is itself an example of reuse — it was based on code developed for the New York State Senate. This software could be reused by any agency interacting with the same city agencies. 

 

The New York State Senate

The New York State Senate’s “Open Senate” initiative is a series of award-winning technology solutions that seek to maximize the transparency and accessibility of legislative information for all New Yorkers, and provide new ways for citizens to participate in the legislative process.

The problem

The New York State Senate’s 62 senate offices were relying on a 20 year-old Mainframe-computer based Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system to manage 15 million constituents.

The solution


OpenBureau founders created a modern, web-based constituent relationship management (CRM) system on the open-source Drupal and CiviCRM software platforms to replace the New York State Senate's 20 year-old mainframe- computer based Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system.

This CRM empowers senate staff to track registered voter’s complaints and comments delivered via phone, e-mail, Web forms and more. At the same time this information is consolidated into distinct constituent’s records, it is disseminated among the entire senate office’s staff for easier case management and quicker resolution of voter issues.

The reuse


The source code for this solution, branded Bluebird, has been made public and has already been reused by The Office of The Public Advocate of New York City. 

 

New York City Department of Transportation

The New York City Department of Transportation maintains and enhances the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of New York City residents.

The problem

While the IT Dashboard, open-sourced by the US Federal Government, appeared to present a perfect low-cost solution, New York City DOT was challenged by the lack of available tools to help executives track the status of individual projects in one of the largest technology project portfolios of any City Agency.

The solution

OpenBureau founders helped New York City DOT to evaluate the cost and viability of reimplementing the Federal IT Dashboard, a Drupal-based data visualization application, to meet DOT’s need for an internal technology project oversight tool. This included a comprehensive review of the IT Dashboard code, scoping the cost and complexity of adapting it for DOT’s needs, and developing technical recommendations for future implementation by DoT staff or other outside vendors.

The reuse

New York City DOT’s successful reimplementation of the IT Dashboard will not only fulfill the promise of the U.S. Federal Government’s decision to open-source the application in the first place, but would also result in a redesigned code base that will be easier and less expensive for other local governments in turn to deploy for their needs. 

 
 

New York City Dept. of Information Technology & Telecom (DoITT)


New York City Dept. of Information Technology & Telecom (DoITT) works to establish a new open government paradigm and make customer-to-government interactions more transparent and accessible employing cutting-edge tools, partnerships, and innovations.

The problem

Challenged by the difficulty of engaging individuals and small businesses to work with the City on technology projects, DoITT created an initiative called “Speedy Procurement and Rapid Contracts” (NYC SPARK),

The solution


OpenBureau founders worked with DoITT to launch NYC SPARK - connecting tech pros with cutting-edge tech projects. Built on the open source content management solution Drupal, NYC SPARK empowers DoITT to (a) accelerate innovative small applications development projects Citywide (b) expand the pool of qualified application developers available to work on City projects (c) make it easier for individuals and small IT businesses to work with the City. NYC Spark aspires to enable job seekers to “Turn your passion into action, and help build NYC’s future.”

The reuse

NYC SPARK has the potential for being used for any government hiring system wherein individuals or companies apply for government contracts. 

 

World Bank Sanitation Hackathon

More people around the globe own cell phones than toilets today. The Sanitation Hackathon, organized by The World Bank, raises awareness and seeks solutions to the fact that 2.5 million people live without proper sanitation worldwide. 

The problem

We were tasked with branding the Sanitation Hackathon and creating materials to market itto developers around the globe with the goal of awarding three winners the opportunity to implement their innovations. 

The solution

We designed a creative strategy that encompassed the Sanitation Hackathon branding, a mark for use on publications, the website, and social media. This included Twitter, Facebook and YouTube videos narrated by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.  We provided branding, logo design, icon design, poster design, website UX/UI design, pre-press support and styleguides.

The reuse

The site was built on the open source platform Drupal.

The series of global hackathons in a dozen countries around the globe help accelerate the development of civic software solutions by local technology communities.