Another week, another conference on another platform. This one had a couple things going for it: It was short and it was fun.
User-friendly design expert and A2J Hero Nicole Bradick and her team at Theory and Principle held what I hope will be the first of many Justice Tech & Design Cross-Community Gatherings.
Bradick had a little over 170 registrants by the day of the event, which was held on Remo.co‘s platform. The platform encouraged more one-to-one and small-group communication, in addition to table hopping and mingling.
Tables were named by topic so folks could gather to discuss issues such as document automation, working with government agencies, women in tech, and e-filing.
There were lots of advantages to a program like this. Speakers took over at two points, and otherwise the folks at tables could chat and share information about their justice- and civic-oriented tech projects.
Bradick gave a shout-out to introverts, letting them know they could hide out at side tables for two, which could also be used for one-on-one chats. I sat myself at one of those tables so I could gobble down my lunch off camera, but still check out the platform.
Complete with the tech glitches we’re all accustomed to, the program was full of interesting people working on important justice- and civic-oriented tech projects.
For a next one, I would really like to see a list of projects people are working on, and/or problems those in the room are interested in solving (or working to solve).
Many of us were new to the platform, Remo.co. I enjoyed being able to hop from table to table to chat or hide in a corner by myself and eat my lunch off camera. Sorry Nicole Black, no avatars.
How to Stop Re-inventing the Wheel
The bridging of the civic and justice tech communities is an idea worth replicating, again and again. In just one seating, I witnessed sharing that will likely save one entity enormous time and effort with their project. When someone else has already done the research or has lessons learned on a similar issue, it’s ideal to learn from them rather than start from scratch.
The need for better directories came up again. That’s a nut no one has really cracked yet. Admittedly it’s a heavy lift. There’s a lot of experimentation right now and lots of good and not-so-good solutions being released. Tracking that would take significant time and energy but could be incredibly valuable for those looking to solve for similar solutions or replicate projects in their own jurisdictions.
Platform Needs Some Work
Like a live conference, I got to chat with old friends and meet some new folks, face to face.
The platform could use some improvements for sure. I kept wanting to click on someone’s name to pull up their profile. Instead, the name would highlight and my browser would pull up their sir name via Wikipedia. I had a bit too much fun getting distracted with sir name histories before I realized I was really still looking for names to be connected with the profiles we set up when logging in.
Logging in and joining was easy peasy. And it was also easy to bounce form the event and rejoin. I learned that by accident.
Regardless of the cons, the pros win the day for the gathering and for giving us Remo.com. It’s worth noting that the folks at Remo.co reached out to conference goers to ask them about their experiences. Great way to continue to improve and modify designs based on end-user need.
I second Jason Tashea:
@NicoleBradick and @theoryprinciple did what I didn’t think could be done, they made a virtual conference fun. Thank you for organizing!— Jason Tashea (@jtashea) October 21, 2020
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