New York City is already delivering exceptional digital tools. Learn more through these case studies.
Through HOME-STAT, New York City works with its partners to prevent homelessness, connect individuals to appropriate services, and help New Yorkers transition to permanent housing. To better understand client experiences and key points in the business process, the Mayor’s Office of Operations Innovation and Design Team deployed a service design process to conduct stakeholder research. This included interviewing City agency staff and service providers, shadowing outreach teams in the field, and meeting with homeless and formerly homeless individuals.
The Design Team created “journey maps” based on their interviews and then worked with stakeholders to identify areas of enhancement through collaborative workshops and conversations. The Mayor’s Office developed a report describing the service delivery process and areas of enhancement, which is helping to guide the continued development of HOME-STAT.
Learn more about HOME-STAT at nyc.gov/homestat.
Pre-K Find and Apply Tool
When Mayor de Blasio took office on January 1, 2014, the administration began the largest expansion of pre-kindergarten in American history. City agencies added staff to ensure that classroom components were in place, and community organizers blanketed communities and attended local meetings to spread the word about enrollment deadlines. Despite these efforts, a large obstacle for some families was the application itself.
For years, parents applied to school programs by downloading a PDF form and returning it via fax or in-person to the City. But for the nearly 30% of New Yorkers whose only access to the Internet is a mobile device, PDFs and fax machines are non-starters. We needed a way to reach parents on the only thing in New York that is as ubiquitous as a MetroCard: a smart phone.
We created an app that allows anyone to find nearby pre-kindergarten centers and to begin the application process on any device. Whether a parent uses a desktop with high-speed broadband or an Android with 4G data service, this digital tool opened the doors of early childhood education to thousands of new families.
This mapping tool is now interoperable with afterschool programs, mental health service providers, and other key City location-based services.
Check it out at nyc.gov/findprek.
NYC Icon Library
To communicate to the largest audience possible—regardless of language—icons are a powerful tool. Icons have been used occasionally across City agencies but never unified visually. Agencies had the responsibility of sourcing icons when needed, which can become a resource drain.
We are working to create an NYC icon library to address this need. The library will provide a clear, helpful set of icons to all City agencies. These icons can be used across both print and web projects. The icons share geometry with the official NYC logo, creating an integrated visual language for all official City design assets. The icon library will be refreshed annually and grow with the City’s needs.
The icons would be made through an agency crowdsourced method: anyone with Adobe Illustrator skills working within the City can ask the Office of Digital Strategy to be a part of the project. To ensure cohesion, creative aspects would be coordinated with NYC & Company.
Citywide Image Library
Communicating simply and effectively means using every tool we can to tell our stories. New York City’s government has several professional photographers working in different agencies. These photographers have taken a rich and varied set of photos of our city, but they are underutilized if they are not well-organized or shared.
We’re making these images available to every City worker who needs them. A tool called Libris by Photoshelter allows the Mayor’s Office’s rich stock of photos to be tagged, searched, and shared. With the help of a professional photo archivist, we can make sure that the City agencies have the visual resources they need, and that their best images are being shared, as well. This will also be home to a growing set of icons and graphics, designed to reinforce the City’s logo and brand. We’ll use these photos and graphics to make sure that as many people as possible are able to understand the City’s messages and services.