Showing Adopta some love
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A little over a month ago, we launched Adopta, our version of Code for America's Adopt-a-Hydrant that let anyone set up their own Adopt-a-Anything website. While our original goal was just to see if there would any interest in such an app, we quickly realized that more than just making the app widely available, it was also our duty to see what we could do to improve it.
That's why today we're launching a shiny, new version of Adopta, complete with some changes that we're pretty excited about:
1. Better user engagement
One of the best criticisms of the Adopt-a-* apps was that "there is absolutely no perception of activity, urgency, or community". So we added an activity stream to see adoptions as they happen, and a leaderboard so that active community members can achieve recognition for their efforts.
Enough has been said about the prevalence of smartphones and mobile internet usage -- so I'll just say that it was mildly embarrassing that Adopta wasn't optimized for mobile use. Not to worry though, we've rebuilt our stylesheets from the ground up with mobile in mind.
3. Your ideas?
Our team here at DOBT is growing, and so is our capacity to continuously improve the apps we build and support. Some features that are already in the works include:
- Improved support for migrating an existing non-digital Adopt a Hydrant program
- The ability for citizens to provide & update the coordinates of infrastructure they adopt
And on the crazier side of things:
- What if each adopter received a custom sticker in the mail, and they were *encouraged* to stick it on the hydrant that they adopted?
- Can we let citizens post requests for help? Maybe provide some sort of bounty for the folks that fill the request?
It's our goal to make a flexible application that works for scenarios we haven't even thought of yet, so if you have feature ideas or suggestions, don't hesistate to get in touch. Launching an Adopta site might not fix all of government's tech woes, but showing citizens that government can be an "us" and not just a "them" is a great first step.
Adam Becker is a co-founder of The Department of Better Technology.