DocuBot - Public Records Team | Seelio
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Problem Statement

The Ferndale City Hall Public Records Department is responsible for maintaining an accessible and current database of relevant documents. The 2014 flood made this process challenging as most of the documents stored in the basement of the City Hall were either damaged or destroyed (blueprints). The damaged documents were freeze-dried and stored at several locations with the understanding that they will be recovered, inventoried, catalogued, and digitized at a later date together with the varied records housed within the City Hall itself.

Process

In order to better understand this problem, we conducted user interviews. After synthesized our interview results, we assessed that the main problem to consider is the awareness and online engagement of public records.

Implementation

Thus informed, we worked toward developing a product that was efficient, flexible, and easily adaptable. In this endeavor, we were guided by the fact that the website of the Ferndale City Hall is presently undergoing radical changes and is migrating to a larger, more efficient server. Additionally, the Public Records Department has hired a document management company to select, catalogue, archive, and digitize documents presently stored in the City Hall building and in several other nearby storage facilities. With these operations still very much in flux and fluid deadlines to be considered, our team focused on creating a platform that a) will inform Ferndale citizens about the duties and roles performed by the City Clerks and b) guide them through the process of accessing FOIA documents, as these are the most requested materials.

To do so, we created a Facebook ChatBot called DocuBot.  Decisive in our choice to use this social network platform was the fact that the Ferndale Forum has close to 11,000 members in a city whose population is nearing 18,000. We heard about this successful online community from our interviews with key City Hall stakeholders who expressed a keen interest and desire to replicate this type of civic engagement and build a similar following on its own Facebook page. 

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    DocuBot Poster
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  • Final presentation slides to promote DocuBot within 90s
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  • DocuBot Screen recording demo.
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  • Attachment
    One of the many versions of the DocuBot logo we considered for the final product.
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    The promotional DocuBot card that we shared at the Ferndale CID Expo.
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    Photo of our team at the CID Ferndale expo.
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    Photo of our team at the CID Ferndale expo.
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Collaborators

  • Yongjia Duan

    Yongjia Duan / I worked as project manager, graphic designer and user experience designer in this project.

    In order to keep up with each milestone, I focused on breaking the tasks down into several smaller one and set up meetings regularly according to my teammates' schedule. After we decided the content and the style(minimalism) of the poster, I designed it. During building and testing our DocuBot, I was responsible for all the navigation buttons and their logic. Adjustments have been made after several rounds of iteration on usability testing.
  • University of Michigan School of Information

    University of Michigan School of Information

    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • Corina Kesler

    Corina Kesler

    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Categories

Public Relations, Interaction Design, Social Work

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