What I Did

For this project, I accepted the main contact role between our design team and the City of Boston. My tangible contributions began with conducting interviews, of City officials and community members, to better understand the challenges. I helped finalize a Statement of Work (SOW), and delivered it to the client for approval. Sensing that our strategy may be slow to take shape, I sketched out some early ideas, prompting a more robust Design Studio. I drove the priority for accessibility, ensuring our work would meet standards and usability testing. I was especially proud to suggest the use of Boston's "B" logo as a campaign staple, encouraging residents to "B Counted".

Results

"We never expected something this good in only 3 weeks! Speechless." 

Though we are equally excited and appreciative of such kind words from the client, the truth is we won't really know the true results, or any changes in census response rates, until after the 2020 censuses are complete. However, we consider the City of Boston's decision to adopt our full proposal to be a considerable near-term victory, and we are excited by the collaboration and future possibilities.

Problem

The US census, which is conducted every 10 years, is fast approaching for 2020. At the same time, the annual census for the City of Boston is approaching, as well. This presents a once-in-a-decade scenario where Boston residents will be asked to participate in two, overlapping censuses. We needed to raise awareness about the two different censuses, but then we also needed to mobilize more residents in Boston's hard-to-count neighborhoods to complete both census types.

When the City of Boston creates tools and services, they focus on everyone. They want to build experiences that are accessible to as many people as possible. This was especially true when the work involved the 2020 US census, an undertaking where the more inclusive it can be, the more accurate the results.

The City had gained great insights from the 2010 census which could be used in preparing for 2020. Some interesting findings from 2010 came in the City's response map, showing the areas of Boston where response rates were less-than 73%, compared to the national average. This shed light on a challenge, as well as an opportunity, for the City. By digging into the 2010 data, we could develop informed approaches to increasing and optimizing 2020 census participation, in ways that benefit all Bostonians.