How many people have returned to New Orleans? What is the current population of flood-damaged neighborhoods? Businesses, city planners, and neighborhood advocates from the Lower Nine to Lakeview all desperately need these answers to determine where more grocery stores should be reopened, where additional schools should be placed, and where volunteers should be deployed. But, with five years between Katrina and the next U.S. Census, no answers were in sight, until the staff at the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center found counts of households actively receiving mail provided a solid monthly view of neighborhood repopulation. With this data, they developed an easy-to-use application that supported real-world use cases. In this talk, Denice Ross outlines five generalizable lessons from this work about building a web app that people can trust.
Denice Ross has fifteen years of experience in user-centered design and specializes in creating large web sites that convey complex information through an intuitive user experience. When Denice joined the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center in 2001, Census 2000 was being released and there was great promise of using the Internet to democratize federal statistics so they would be easy for non-data-experts to access and use.
She built the GNOCDC.org web site of neighborhood data, with a loyal following of 5,000 unique monthly visits before Katrina, and now double the traffic and a wide audience including neighborhood leaders, national media and the White House as they track the recovery of New Orleans after the storm. Ms. Ross has been a long-time contributor to the field of “public participation GIS” and is nationally recognized as a leader in developing actionable metrics for community data web sites.
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