How civic hackers helped California's DMV get digital momentum
CivicDMV and the Code for America Brigades helped inspire DMV to "unlock" California’s DMV Web Services.
26 Aug 2019
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has experienced its fair share of criticism lately, which caused Governor Gavin Newsom to set up a DMV Strike Team to focus on reviewing and recommending "new long-term leadership and reform at DMV." The team released a report in July.
Part of that effort focused on improving DMV's digital experience, which has a long way to go.
Subsequently, the strike team collaborated with the Code for America Brigade Network on a series of state-wide series of user experience tests, which ultimately confirmed what everyone already knew, that "the end-user experience of the DMV website was not a priority."
This is an inspiring story of how government can work with the community in gathering ideas, cultivating expertise and insights from those beyond the bureaucracy to contribute meaningful contributions to government in their own ways. In this case, it drove the momentum for change in ways we don't often see with government.
Hopefully, DMV will continue this effort, and other agencies -- inside and outside California -- take this case study and build frameworks for engagement to help them get out of their own boxes.
The future of government is one that is a culture of open, and this is a small example of the possibilities.
From Jacob's post:
By late July, the Strike Team worked with DMV to fix bugs, refresh content on the most commonly-viewed pages and restructure the homepage by creating clear navigational channels for users, emphasizing what CAN be done online. The team and staff also improved access to translation services, which jumped by 300 percent only a week after the change was made.
These were the first iterations of a larger redesign, with many more to come. As a result of this effort, we sensed the shift of energy within the team behind the DMV website. They were empowered, and are now driving forward their own ideas like streamlining content and improving customer service with a Chatbot (and eventually live chat services) to the department’s website.