Between Grassroots and the Hierarchy: Lessons Learned from the Design of a Public Services Directory

Dow, Andy, Comber, Rob and Vines, John (2018) Between Grassroots and the Hierarchy: Lessons Learned from the Design of a Public Services Directory. In: CHI 2018 - 2018 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 21st - 26th April 2018, Montreal, Canada.

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There is a growing interest in HCI research studying technology for citizen engagement in civic issues. We are now seeing issues around technologies for empowerment and participation, long discussed in HCI literature, appropriated and formalised in government legislation. In the UK, recent reforms stipulate that community-based service information should be published in continuously updated, collaboratively designed and maintained, online platforms. We report on a qualitative study where we worked with stakeholders involved in the collaborative design, development and implementation of such a platform. Our findings highlight tensions between the grassroots desire to innovate and local governments’ rigid compliance with statutory obligation. We pose a series of challenges and opportunities for HCI researchers engaged in the design of civic technologies to consider going forward, addressing issues of engagement in policy, measures of participation and tools for enabling participatory processes in public institutions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Civic technologies; public services; service directories; civic engagement; digital civics; qualitative research
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2018 15:21
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 09:35

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