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Civic User Testing

What is Civic User Research?

As part of the City of Long Beach’s efforts to engage the public in the digital space and solicit public input to create digital services that are accessible for all Long Beach residents, the City developed a Civic User Research practice for the design and creation of digital services and products.

Civic User Research is a process used to evaluate the usability and effectiveness of digital services such as digital tools, resources, applications, or platforms designed for public use. This practice supports our work to meet Objective 2.2 of the Smart City Strategy to “Develop channels for community co-design with residents, small businesses, and other stakeholder groups who stand to benefit the most from digital literacy gains.”

Example services include:

Why does this matter?

The primary goal of Civic User Research is to ensure that digital services are user-friendly, accessible, and effectively meet the needs of its intended users. Civic User Research uses a “build with” collaborative approach to design rather than a “build for” approach, with the motto “if it does not work for Long Beach, it doesn’t work.”

What We’re Doing

The Civic User Research process involves recruiting a diverse group of participants who represent the target audience of the service or product. Once selected, participants engage with the digital service by performing a series of scenario-based tasks while observers collect feedback on their interactions and experiences. The City compensates participants for their time and uses their feedback to enhance the service to better meet the needs of end users.

The Civic User Research practice offers a promising opportunity for the City and community members to co-design digital solutions and to improve the quality of life for all. Interested community members can sign up to be in a pool of civic user testers who can be invited to test and provide feedback on digital tools, websites, technology plans, and civic products the City is developing and deploying for public use.

  • To learn more about how to conduct Civic User Research, Long Beach city staff can find helpful resources here.
  • For a step-by-step guide find the entire Civic User Research playbook here

How to Participate

Long Beach community stakeholders may submit an interest form to participate in civic user testing. Selected participants will receive a $25 gift card for sharing their time and knowledge! Recruitment is ongoing and depends on upcoming projects in need of a Civic User Research evaluation.

If you have any questions, please contact Michael Criste, Pilot Programs Coordinator at michael.criste@longbeach.gov