“No Office in this land is more important than that of being a citizen”
A new-age civic engagement platform
Design of a platform for public participation in governance & civics
My Role & Contributions
I led team FOLO that worked on the interface design of Civis.vote.
I worked in a 3-member design team to design the interfaces for civis.vote. My work on the design of CIVIS had 3 components:
1. Design of the journeys for the users
2. Design system
3. Communication & tonality
Communication & tonality
Making law accessible via illustrations
One of the challenges with a project such as Civis is to get the citizens interested. Since the core subject is law, it comes across as complex to most people, given the obvious fact that legal text is complex, more often than not and is for that reason, not accessible.
One of the ways we tried to overcome this hurdle is by making accessible easily and visually, the core idea of the policy in question - the emotional connect of it with our daily lives. To this effect, we collaborated with Rohit Karandadi to create a set of illustrations for the main subjects under which the policies fall.
Waking up the citizen
Civis is a call to the citizenry to step up and voice their opinions and feedback for everything that concerns them. By law, citizens are an essential part of the process of formation of laws and policies. However, the systems and the complexity isn't able to engage the lowest common denominator.
The citizen, upon landing on the website, greeted by a strong message which might compel someone to think immediately. 'Your turn, citizen' is a call-to-arms to every educated citizen to engage in the legal discourse that will shape their world in the very near future.
Civis makes public policies and bills introduced by the government accessible to citizenry, and enables citizens to share their feedback on them. This feedback and sentiment then gets passed on to the relevant authorities. Behind this is the belief that it is essential that dialogue between citizens and government remains vibrant and thriving
Following were the 3 core journeys that we designed for:
1. Participating in existing consultations
The most common scenario on Civis is that of a user logging on and responding to consultations that they will have ready opinion on. The existing consultation would've been uploaded by team Civis.
Design for Urgency
On the Active consultations page, every active consultation page is displayed as a card, arranged by urgency and the no. of days remaining displayed in bold, to incite action.
The citizen can choose to read the summary of the draft, or the full draft and then respond. S/he can also choose to use an existing public response too.
Accessibility in text
Apart from the illustrations doing the job of making law accessible to citizens, the text was either summarised by team Civis or a 3rd party tool was employed for this purpose.
2. Adding a consultation on Civis
If you find department detail missing in the system (or if new information emerges, as it usually does), you as a citizen leader can add this department information to the database. In this sense, the system is open to updates at the lowest level of information, making the system amenable and open and hence, dynamic and democratic.
Step 1 in the process of adding the consultation is entering the details of the consultation itself
Step 2 in the process of adding the consultation is specifying the department which has published this consultation
At the end of the Civis administrator, when they receive a new submission, they can verify the details of the submitted consultation and make any edits before finally making it live in Civis.
3. Adding a missing ministry
Even more engaged citizens can go to the extent of submitting missing ministries
When you participate in matters above yourself, and concerning common good, you're no longer just a citizen (at least in Civis' books), you're a citizen leader - a leader of democratic change. This instant encouragement and spirit building is built right into the dashboard of the citizen who has started taking part on Civis.