During my Code for America fellowship in 2014, I was on a team working with the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Throughout our February residency talking to city employees, nonprofits, and community members, we discovered some common themes around community engagement and communication. One of the biggest struggles the city had with communicating was providing a flood of information to anyone looking for anything. For example, the police department’s car accident Twitter feed sends out some 250+ tweets a day. If you’re looking for specific information, it becomes difficult to find through all the noise.
What we created was a notification platform for geographically and topically relevant notifications delivered by either text message or email. After lots of wire framing and UX testing, we went with a one page app that took you through steps to get signed up for your topic of choice, the region of the city you cared about, and finally defined how to receive those notifications.
The app has been implemented for several different cities now, and is relatively easy to add to since it draws from open data platforms.