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Rewiring Government

The Department of Better Technology helps governments deliver great digital services to the people who depend on them.

Creating an Unbelievable Citizen Experience, Part 1: The 15 Minute Form

This post is the first in our “Creating an Unbelievable Citizen Experience” series, highlighting the features and benefits of our flagship product, Screendoor.

When agencies consider ways to improve user experience for citizens, their thoughts often turn to public engagement in the form of social media and other outreach strategies. While admirable, these communication efforts fail to address the more basic, everyday interactions that citizens have with their governments. Things like applying for licenses, permits, or positions usually involve an unavoidable form.

Nobody enjoys dealing with forms. Government forms frequently suffer from poor presentation, and are wrapped up in cumbersome processes: download a PDF, print it, fill it out, scan and return or put it in the mail, etc. Instead of new public engagement programs, your agency can provide an instant, measurable improvement in citizen relations by putting your forms online. Online forms are quick to fill out, easy to submit, and even easier to handle inside your department. Our flagship product, Screendoor, is all about putting your forms online.

Let’s take this PDF as an example of a typical “Application to Serve” for citizen advisory boards and commissions. This is a pretty straightforward form that would normally be a pain to print, fill out, and return. What if it could be completed in a web browser, or even on-the-go from a mobile device? Screendoor makes this possible in a matter of minutes.

Start by naming the form and providing a summary of its purpose. Then you can select a due date, if needed, along with a few other customization options. Then it’s time to create! Using our form wizard, you can make a simple form with just a few fields. Or, for more involved forms, drag-and-drop the elements you need: check-boxes, drop-down menus, prices, tables, and more. Each field is customizable so your forms look smart and get the job done.


At this point, you’re already way ahead of the curve, ready to post a user-friendly online form that won’t be frustrating to fill out. After creating your response fields, you can take it to the next level by organizing and tagging responses, inviting your team members to collaborate and evaluate, and much more. We’ll cover those additional features in upcoming posts.

For now, just get a form online and see how your citizens like it! It’s the ideal first step for improving citizen experience with your agency, and Screendoor makes it simple. Agencies are lagging behind in providing the same fast, easy online experience people have grown to expect. We conduct business online, fill out forms online, submit requests online, but our local governments aren’t keeping up. It’s time to move government forms into the 21st century.

Since forms are the most common point of interaction between citizens and the agencies that serve them, let Screendoor help you make your forms digital, mobile-optimized, and accessible. It only takes a minute. Why not start improving your citizen experience today?

Screendoor helps government build beautiful online forms. Request a demo today!

Sid Burgess is the VP of Government Relations at The Department of Better Technology.

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