Creating a ‘Digital Front Door’ at Oakland City Hall

Oakland, California

Oakland, California cdrin /


Connecting state and local government leaders

Watch Oakland Communications Director Karen Boyd discuss the city’s digital strategy during the 2015 Code for America summit.

Did you miss the 2015 Code for America Summit in Oakland, California, earlier this month?

The organization uploaded videos of many of the major speakers for anyone to watch. Many of the speakers shared innovative and inspiring stories about how technology, digital platforms and innovative ideas can transform the delivery of government services.

Route Fifty will feature some of videos periodically through the end of the year but we thought we’d start with something from the host city, Oakland.

Communications Director Karen Boyd spoke about how “Oakland’s strategy is digital by default” and how “technology is no longer the sole domain of the IT department or of vendors.”

She continued:

Every staff person needs to now know to use simple straight-forward digital tools to deliver services just like they know how to use the telephone or send an email. It should be embedded into our daily work.

One of Oakland’s digital priorities was the creation of a “Digital Front Door,” she said:

It was a recognition that the website is really the digital front door to city hall. That’s where people were coming to get their services. More than a million people a year come to the city website to look at information.

If we had a million people a year coming to our permit counters we would certainly staff up to meet that need. And yet for most city staff, that million people are invisible. It’s hard to see the Web traffic.

So Oakland created a digital dashboard “that makes these invisible users visible to city staff and allows them to analyze the traffic and trends.”

Watch Boyd’s complete address here .

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty, which was a Code for America 2015 Summit partner. 

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