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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Chicago targets more inclusive services

In January Chicago became the first city to pilot a new assessment tool to track progress and measure commitment on digital inclusion.

In 1999 Chicago was one of the first cities in the US to implement a non-emergency management system, 311. Twenty years later, however, it had grown dated and was solely based on phone communication.

“There was a clear need for greater accessibility, accountability, and transparency,” says Danielle DuMerer, the city’s chief information officer, who stepped down from her post in August. “We also knew that we wanted to build a system that reflected the diversity of our city and included our residents’ voices.”

To achieve this DuMerer helped foster a design-led engagement process with residents through 11 in-person workshops and focus groups to generate feedback. She reached out to Chicago’s Civic User Testing group and early versions were then tested with residents at libraries and community colleges across the city.

A crucial element to this was involving the Commissioner from the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Karen Tamley.

The pair have known and worked together in the city for over 10 years on digital inclusion and accessibility. Ensuring the new communication management system was accessible to all was paramount.

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