The Shift Indy team has been very busy this summer! If you didn’t notice, we took last month off from our blog and newsletter update. We think it’s important we deliver valuable updates for our subscribers. Sometimes when you’re heads-down making progress, there aren’t many valuable updates to provide. We thought for our September edition, we would give some insight on a few of our remaining implementations: global features.

A few key items remaining on our to-do list are what we refer to internally as ‘global features’. These aren’t one-off services like applying for a homestead deduction. They don’t have much to do with an agency’s content. These are the services expected on a large organization’s website, especially on a municipal site. Global features in our case are the following:

  • Calendar: The opportunity for citizens to find dates for council meetings, upcoming workshops or community events. We’re interested in solutions that leverage an ‘event’-like feature, allowing citizens to sign-up or ‘follow’ a calendar item for updates and reminders.
  • Jobs: While our Human Resources division is lead on workforce management, every agency and department provides information on their open positions and plays a role in their recruitment. Providing a user-friendly interface for finding and applying for City-County jobs is an important feature for our users and our staff.
  • Boards & Commissions: Every agency & department has some type of board or committee presence. It’s important we’re being transparent in sharing who represents these boards, their terms, etc. It’s also just as important to have from an internal, process management perspective.
  • Minutes & Agendas: Just as every agency & department has board, commission or committee, those governing bodies have minutes, agendas and other documentation. For years, we’ve lacked consistency across our organization in how we provide these items. Having a single tool for this need will help streamline the way these documents are created, stored and organized – making it efficient and user-friendly for staff and constituents.

There are some features not mentioned above that are similar to this ‘global’ role. Mapping, for instance, is something that will touch several agencies and departments. However, the idea of mapping isn’t just implementing a tool, it’s executing a vision for a major interactive point of the website. Because of that, items like ‘mapping’ or ‘authentication’ are on a list of their own.

Implementing the above list has not been an easy task. Multiple factors — from requirements to third-party vendors — make each item different in its own right. We already have a digital provider for job postings and applications, but what API’s are available? What does implementing a ‘Minutes & Agendas’ tool look like from a storage perspective? What are the one-off use cases we need to plan to meet? How does this tool interact with that tool or those tools over there? How can we further streamline this process and make everything come together in a single, cohesive experience?

As we enter the homestretch of becoming our new digital city hall, it’s clear we have our work cut out for us. Some items will be in the piloting stage at the end of the year, while others will maintain an iterative approach – not fully complete until early 2019. While some may see that as a deadline unmet, we see that as the spirit of this initiative and the site as a whole. There is no final deadline, no moment we say ‘complete’ and walk away. This site will always be growing, improving and changing to meet the needs of our citizens.

That’s why we look forward to your feedback with every new release. Sometimes when you’re heads-down making progress, it’s easy to overlook the small details. As we implement these global features, new services, even informative content, it’s important you tell us what works and what doesn’t.  Your use and input gives these features value. Never forget: this is your website, your government, your digital city hall.