Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Between grassroots and the hierarchy: Lessons learned from the design of a public services directory

Lookup NU author(s): Andrew Dow, Dr Robert Comber, Professor John Vines



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018 Copyright is held by the owner/author(s). There is a growing interest in HCI research studying technology for citizen engagement in civic issues. We are now seeing issues around technologies for empowerment and participation, long discussed in HCI literature, appropriated and formalised in government legislation. In the UK, recent reforms stipulate that community-based service information should be published in continuously updated, collaboratively designed and maintained, online platforms. We report on a qualitative study where we worked with stakeholders involved in the collaborative design, development and implementation of such a platform. Our findings highlight tensions between the grassroots desire to innovate and local governments' rigid compliance with statutory obligation. We pose a series of challenges and opportunities for HCI researchers engaged in the design of civic technologies to consider going forward, addressing issues of engagement in policy, measures of participation and tools for enabling participatory processes in public institutions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dow A, Comber R, Vines J

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Year of Conference: 2018

Online publication date: 21/04/2018

Acceptance date: 21/04/2018

Date deposited: 27/06/2018

Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery


DOI: 10.1145/3173574.3174016

Notes: Paper No.: 442

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781450356206