A bloated Jenga metaphor for boston.gov


Tomorrow, we'll be bringing a homemade Jenga set to TechJam on City Hall Plaza. If you're attending, come play at our table and tell us what better a boston.gov looks like to you.

How do you engage the public about redesigning a city's website? You may think surveys, but for our table at TechJam we thought an adult-sized game of Jenga might be more fun!

While it's a fun game to play, we also see Jenga as a suitable metaphor for designing a website (stay with us here). We saw a similar metaphor in Twister, but there were some HR implications that forced us to pivot.

Much like the initial set up of a Jenga tower, the grand reveal of a website often marks the beginning of its decline. Each hasty content addition, change in technology, or change in staff is a block removed and precariously placed on top of an increasingly unstable base. Without planning and oversight, this haphazard growth of a website makes it too easy for the tower - or user experience - to topple over and crash.

After our first website's launch in 1996 (then at ci.boston.ma.us) it would be celebrated as a cutting-edge tool for city government. At the time, just having a government website was revolutionary. Today, the standards for digital engagement are much higher. It is not enough to simply stack the blocks evenly and hope for the best. We're changing the way we approach digital tools and questioning our own assumptions about how the blocks are stacked so that boston.gov can grow wisely and evolve efficiently as new use cases and technologies arise.

 

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