Making forms a priority
The face of the City
If the website is the City’s front door, forms are the person who opens it, welcomes residents in, and takes them to the services they need. Forms are conversations — back-and-forth exchanges of information between residents and with City. They are our opportunity to inspire trust, or not. We need to ensure that our digital forms support resident needs with efficacy, efficiency, and empathy.
Given that forms are the interface by which residents complete service transactions — including information requests, applications, payments, and registrations — the effect of digital forms is widely felt: Nearly every city service needs at least one online form to serve residents online.
Uploading PDFs doesn’t count
Oftentimes, forms are considered digitized once they are uploaded to Austintexas.gov and thus available online. Yet these still impose considerable barriers: Residents must download a PDF, fill it out, email it as an attachment, and wait for a response. This process is inaccessible for users without the sufficient computer skills or PDF software — not to mention those who don’t have a personal computer, or are trying to access services from a mobile device.