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CivicPDX.ORG

Role: Co-design Lead

A team of front-end designers, data scientists, and designers partnered with the City of Portland's Budget Office to digitally catalog 10 years worth of budget data, learn where Portland spends its money, and digitize the city of Portland's decision-making process around budget. Check out the code or access data powering the visualizations through our open source API.

 

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Questions & Challenges

The Project: Civicpdx is an open data platform to democratize public information and drive meaningful engagement through neutral, nonpartisan analytics.

Portland's city budget is arguably the city's most important policy document. The budget contains the plan for spending our collective resources across city programs and services. Yet, annual budget decisions often receive far less attention than other questions considered at City Hall.

  • No existing database
  • Many resources were paper (non-digital)
  • So much information existed
  • Challenge: so much time was spent on building the database little time was left to design

Discovery

what we learned and how we iterated

We learned the team dynamics contributed to taking more time on certain tasks. Teams started around 25-30 people, much larger than previous design & development seasons with Hack Oregon. Consistent contributing members to each team ended up around 8-10 people over the project season. Several design features we learned were ambitious for the Budget project as the shear amount of data we were building in our back end took much longer than anticipated. Feedback from the front-end developer was to start building a front end with mock data so there will be enough time for the front end team to build the interactive components.