As part of the University of Michigan’s Citizen Interaction Design program, we partnered with Kara Sokol, Director of Communications for the City of Ferndale, to create Curbside Calendar during winter semester, 2017. Our goal was to improve the flow of information in the community, specifically concerning services like trash, recycling, yard waste, and leaf collection, by offering residents a personalized service schedule. Our work builds on a previous CID tool that offered residents address-based information on their leaf pickup season.
To better understand the problem Ferndale is facing, we conducted background research and interviewed the director of Communications and staff members of the Departments of Public Works and Recreation for the City of Ferndale.
To learn about Ferndale residents’ experiences with finding information on city services, we initiated our user research with seven in-person interviews with passersby, and followed the interview results with a survey advertised through Ferndale Forum and the city’s Facebook page. The survey had 43 respondents.
Based on this research, we decided to create an information tool that provides citizens with accurate information about outdoor services to their specific addresses. We worked with the CID program to contract a developer to create the tool based on a our high-fidelity prototype.
Curbside Calendar is currently live and hosted on a free server. Feel free to check it out! Try finding the calendar for City Hall, 300 E. Nine Mile Rd., if you do not have a Ferndale address.
It was an absolute pleasure working with the residents of Ferndale, and this opportunity provided us with invaluable learning experiences. We appreciate the City of Ferndale staff for allowing us to study their workflow and concerns, and suggest new approaches accordingly. We hope Curbside Calendar helps improve communication between the city and its citizens and we look forward to hearing about Ferndale’s success in the future.