The Context of CXThis month has been a roller coaster of travel, events and awards. I flew home from the National League of Cities in Seattle reflecting upon where Open Raleigh will be going in five years and more importantly, next year.
Several bloggers have captured several themes I have been mulling over and I would like to synthesize them into a buzzword I heard coined the other day "the Citizen Experience" or CX. Now this word was mentioned by Bonner Gaylord in his recent blog article. A search on Bing brings up Jennifer Pahlka using the phrase in August 2012. There is now a center of citizen experience.
Thinking about CX and open data in the world I live in is quite normal. As a former UX designer and webbie I have built my fair share of interfaces. Reading the context of Councilman Gaylord's definition plays into what other thought leaders within open data and civic engagement have been discussing. It is about the citizen at the end of the day. Plain and simple, it is about the citizen and their experience with government.
Tomorrow you will get to read Jonathan Feldman's quotes on a debate at a lunch after the NLC in Seattle. I love the sound bytes and how they play into what Councilman Gaylord has to say about the citizen experience.
Google as a CX AnalogThe Councilman Gaylord, the citizen experience is about the interaction between government and the governed. At the most basic level government services need to coalesce around an aggregated services model. The analogs he chose are spot on. Not having much experience with Siri (the first analog) I will discuss Google as Gaylord's second analog for CX and why it fits in with Feldman's views so nicely.
Open data and related government services and websites are where we were in 1994-1995 with the commercial user experience. I remember reading books with links to interesting sites, using Webcrawler, Hotbot and Alta Vista trying to find things. Then came Google.
Whatever else one wants to say about Google it did transform the web into something useful. Following the debacle of the dotcoms, Google brought data together using increasingly sophisticated algorithms to capture and index entire web pages. The interface was and still is simple. A white page and a search box is all that is needed to find just about anything down to the document.
The CX of Open DataWe are not there with open data. We are not there with government as a platform or as a service. It is easy to pick on HealthCare.gov as an example but it is more systemic than a botched website roll-out. "Government" does not exist in the NSA monolithic sense of the word. "Government" is a culture made up of public servants in different departments with different agendas. Gaylord's use of Google as an example of good UX/CX is appropriate.
Feldman, David Eaves, and others conclude that open data for open data's sake is not that interesting. When we make data useful, when we enhance the CX using data, then we will have solved the government as a service problem.