Find It: Program Locator and Event Discovery Platform

Working with the #Cambridge City Kid's Council and citizens of the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts we have built a #Drupal Distribution of Find It, an online deep program resource locator to help people easily find local activities, services, and resources.

Find It Cambridge distribution was informed and further inspired by extensive initial research done by Code for Boston with the City of Cambridge. As the city concluded the research, Agaric was tasked with building the software needed. After scoping out the level of interactivity needed and the multiple roles adding content as well as the depth of the search capabilities, of course, we chose Drupal and Solr as a base.

Our session will start with highlights from this project, with most of the research conducted by the city before anything was built. We will then take you through the iterations of design and mockup testing led by Todd Linkner, our design partner. We will also cover what we learned from the initial user testing done by local people in a library computer lab. Research and testing relied heavily on real-world conditions for this website! Finally, we will show the iterative improvements that continue presently as we are regularly informed by feedback from people using the site in real-world conditions.

We highlight the challenges of balancing client feedback with user feedback and offer strategies for making sure user needs are prioritized, including how to be a user advocate no matter what your role in a project is. We will take you through some of the client-developer decision processes and present what we have learned and how we plan to continue building on the lessons learned as we continue to support and build on this amazing citizen resource that can be used for any city or large organization.

The philosophy throughout has been listen, watch, learn, and then use the knowledge gained to develop and prioritize enhancements and new features. The most interesting parts, as they often do, lie in the details. This session will also present things that could have been done better, and the future opportunities for improvement. Lastly, we will reveal how this distribution can be utilized by anyone wanting to repurpose it, as Agaric has been doing, and for anyone to set up Find It for a city or a group using the Drupal Distribution of: #findit.

We are currently repurposing Find It as an Immigrant Navigator for a Haitian community in Boston and seeking grants to make it a resource locator for recently incarcerated people.

🎤 Presenter(s): Agaric Collective, benjamin melançon (@mlncn)

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