Friday, December 17, 2010

Who are you speaking to: information design.

Citizens are now faced with new challenges to participating in the governance of their communities. These challenges make access to problem solving and issue identification, let alone change management, increasingly out of reach of most people. The very way people could traditionally influence the creation of the world around them is being pulled from their grasp by the combination of: increasing levels of illiteracy (in terms of general understanding of civic responsibilities, roles, and powers); more complex governmental systems at all levels; and, stakeholder engagement processes which are becoming inherently elitist (requiring extensive and diverse expertise, finances, and influence out of reach for most people).

As Planning professionals we need to ask: “if information is being consistently presented in ways that the audience can not understand (in this case “the government” being the author and citizens being the audience) what is the actual message being sent?”

Information should be designed to inform and empower the public. We do not necessarily need more information; but we definitely need more and better ways of understanding what information is already available.

Who are you speaking to?

What are you saying?

No comments: