Cover photo courtesy of the New York City Mayoral Photography Office.
The New York City Mayor’s Office is giving city agencies and service providers the tools and motivation to improve the way they communicate with New Yorkers. Today, Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced the New York City Digital Playbook, an overarching plan for the city’s digital technology, in a press conference with Arianna Huffington and a post on Medium. DeBlasio explains the Playbook outlines how the city will use digital tools to increase equity, transparency and community participation in politics, government and culture.
Our goal is to make our services more accessible, make our operations more transparent, and make it easy and fun to participate in government. In short — we aim to make New York the most user-friendly and innovative city in the world.
Strategy: Communicate Simply
The NYC Digital Playbook outlines 12 strategies for transforming New York’s digital experience, including, “communicate simply and clearly in all languages used.”
In an effort to make sure everyone understands its messaging, the city will review the reading level of content and educate staff on writing simple copy. And, in addition to transforming its written content, the city will shift the focus to visual content. Three of the city’s objectives under the “communicate simply” strategy prioritize visual communication:
- Establish a citywide photo-sharing resource to incorporate imagery into digital services.
- Develop and expand citywide iconography and usage guidelines.
- Use audio, video, or graphics to describe services; do not rely exclusively on text.
The Playbook’s Case Studies section highlights how a new Citywide Image Library hosted by Libris by PhotoShelter will make the city’s best images available to every city worker who needs them. The centralized, cloud-based image library ensures the work of the city’s professional photographers will be easily searchable and accessible for every NYC agency that needs high quality imagery to communicate. By using cutting edge technology to streamline the image sharing process, the Mayor’s Office hopes to have a big impact on New Yorkers.
We’ll use these photos and graphics to make sure that as many people as possible are able to understand the City’s messages and services.
The Bottom Line
With its Digital Playbook, the City of New York has set an example of forward-thinking digital strategy. By building its centralized, accessible Citywide Image Library, the city is acknowledging the trend toward visual communication and giving its stakeholders the tools they need to communicate simply, clearly and effectively. The NYC Digital Playbook is an exciting announcement for the Mayor’s Office, and an even more exciting development for New Yorkers.