Austin Tech Alliance, in collaboration with the City of Austin’s Office of Design and Delivery, partnered with the Office of the Police Monitor to understand the current pain points and obstacles residents face when submitting complaints about their experience with the Austin Police Department.

In Part 1 of this blog series we reviewed project goals and asked you to put yourself in the mind frame of a member of the public. Let’s dive into our how we conduct research, the tools we used to analyze data points and how we piloted designs with the public.   

Our research process

We default to users as our source of truth. If a resident says they don’t know, they’re busy, or they’re scared, we believe them, and we design solutions according to those feelings.

After we have collected data, it’s important that we collaboratively analyze it, In this case, we used few tools to make sense of the data we collected.

  • Journey maps: journey maps trace the experience of a user as they interact with a service or tool. In this case, we will be repurposing a journey map to show the journey of information, as it’s used to deliver a service to a resident.
  • User archetypes, or personas: personas are fictional characters which are research-based. These help us hone in on the gaps, pain points, and opportunities for departments as they use information to deliver a service.
  • Findings and insights: insights and findings will later frame our ideation around solutions to address gaps, pain points, and opportunities.

Concepting and prototyping: an iterative approach

We were continuously iterating on our solutions by creating prototypes, showing them to our users, analyzing their reactions, and using that analysis to shape the next iteration of our prototypes.

Concepting and prototyping: prototypes – digital vs analog

Prototypes are low-investment, low-effort ways to test assumptions and ideas. For example, for the Austin Transportation RPP project we created a digital PDF of the renewal website. We watched and recorded where residents “clicked” and how they navigated the site.  While collaborating with the Office of the Police Monitor we created a clickable example of what a new online complaint process could look like. We showed this example to the pubic and asked for their feedback on how to make the form easy to use and accessible.

While working with Austin-Travis County EMS we tested program names and gauged public perception of the Fall Prevention Program by visiting senior recreation centers throughout the county.  

Learn about our research themes in Part 3 of this 4-part series. To learn more about Paper Census visit papercensus.org and follow us on twitter.