How We Explore
We identified the people who used ATXfloods.com for key decision-making, and set up hour-long interviews with them. Our purpose of conducting these interviews was to identify key tasks, challenges, and motivations for using the site. We conducted these in person when possible, to understand where and how people are using the site, and to witness any additional tools & services that participants may use in conjunction with the site. We recorded many of these interviews, to have detailed information to be able to refer back to.
We circulated a survey to get feedback from citizens about how currently they use ATXfloods.com and what improvements they would like to see. This survey was distributed via Nextdoor, neighborhood listservs, Twitter and on ATXfloods.com.
This survey also served as a screener, to identify and reach out to people who were willing to follow-up with conversations to give more detailed understandings of key tasks, challenges, and motivations for using ATXfloods.com.
On April 6, 2016, we also attended the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Town Hall to learn how that community can be better supported through weather alerts.
Auditing Current Tool
There are many different admins managing data for crossings in their jurisdictions. The current site doesn’t have very structured data - just three free-text fields labeled Name, Address, and Status. We noticed that people were using these fields very differently - for example, we counted ten different ways that the Status field was being used! By summarizing the types of information and uses of each of these fields, we realized that we can leverage that in improvements to the admin workflow, and provide better structure around the data at the same time.
We wanted to get an aggregate look at the site usage - we realized that there were some things that we just couldn’t learn from conversations. Looking at Google Analytics let us know what overall traffic to the site looks like - things like what language our visitors’ browsers are set to, what platform (mobile vs. desktop) they are visiting on, and where they’re physically located when they’re visiting the site.