Ward Explorer is a pilot project to explore how an information portal can look like taken from a neighbourhood planners point of view and how we could potentially create a cohesive way for residents to update community information.
We were given a lose brief and we were allowed to present a concept of our choice. Keeping to our civic technology minded we put forward the Ward Explorer proposal that mixed a open data portal with citizen engagement.
Because of the freedom we were given the green light to take a more innovative approach so we designed a platform that captures open data and makes it easily accessible for people with little or no digital skills. Users can also explore more about the ward they work in, including mapping data and active third sector organisations and institutes presented in a hyperlocal narrative.
We set up a focus group of community activists in two South Birmingham Wards to and consulted them closely over the building on the pilot platform to ensure the platform is easy to use for their peers.
The group highlight that branding and adding elements to give the platform a sense of gamification would support usage so we took that on board and created a straightforward data portal to help neighbourhood planners navigate Birmingham Council data.