To see how we did in 2020, let’s review our goals:
- Redesign Chicago.gov to be more efficient and effective in delivering accessible, equitable services and information to our diverse resident communities. We launched a new, more a11y and mobile friendly chicago.gov, but we shelved the full redesign due to COVID. COVID also taught us we needed better translation, which we have on COVID sites but not all chicago.gov (yet).
- Successfully launch the Chicago Design System internally and externally, in digital and print. Consider this goal as a warning against the use of adverbs. We launched. It was great. The Mayor shook my hand. Then COVID hit and we shelved the work of this office.
- Secure funding for consistent accessibility testing of all City digital applications. I am happy to say that when a door is open a window closes? Is that how God says it? Well, regardless, COVID showed how digital services is an equity issue. It opened the door to financing for better translation and a11y testing, and we defined a TACO. Not a tasty treat, but a Technical Accessibility Compliance Officer to help set strategy and tactics for our digital inclusion work.
The impact of COVID-19
I took over the management of the Software Development team a few weeks before lockdown. Together, we faced a challenge like few others. Here are some of the metrics of our team and others working together:
- chicago.gov Served 47.1 million page views to 14.4 million people through December 10th. A 50% increase in views and 78% more visitors than last year’s 8.1 million visitors and 31.3 million page views over the same time frame. 2020 proved beyond a doubt digital services is an equity issue.
- In nine months, chicago.gov/COVID19 had 5.8 million visitors and 14 million page views, accounting for nearly all of the difference. We produced over two dozen microsites for Cannabis, the Census, Casino RFP, COVID Contact Tracing, COVID19, COVID Vaccination, eTOD, Flu, Healthcare Workers, HILCO, Invest S/W, Police Reform, Public Safety & Violence Reduction, Your Home is Someone’s Workplace, Together We Heal, and more.
- We served more than a million intranet pages to City of Chicago employees.
- Chicago Design System Launched the Chicago Design System design.chicago.gov, which is the public visual identity of the City of Chicago. It is an inclusive, equitable, cost saving system for City communication and for the public to use to show civic pride. Through our design system Figma file, and implementation guidelines, we save time and money while producing more consistent and accessible experiences for Chicagoans. This includes accessibility testing for digital properties according to our guide. We hope to automate this testing in 2021 to extend it to all Chicago digital properties in 2021.
- Software development systems and standards Serviced over 1,000+ web content requests through our remote Microsoft Teams presence while maintaining service standards on CDPH, Department of Housing, and other applications supporting school-based oral health, lead inspection, home owner certification and more. In addition, we upgraded our translation experience chicago.gov/COVID19 in response to community feedback that our translation quality was poor. This system uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with community feedback to provide better translations to all Chicagoans. To date, the translations have cost several thousand dollars but have unlocked essential healthcare information for all Chicagoans to understand and take action for themselves and their community. We hope to extend this program to all Chicago digital properties in 2021.