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What the Consultative Layer Wants: Investigating Design Intentions and Hopes of Civic Tech Startup Founders

Fri, May 26, 11:00 to 12:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo 202B

Abstract

Government entities contract with civic technology startups to facilitate public engagement programs. Embedded in these startups are ideal visions for democratic participation. This research answers questions about e-government tools, including: (1) how are designers’ intentions incorporated? (2) what are the imagined user groups? and (3) what are the expected outcomes? A relational framework of the consultative layer is introduced. Questions were addressed through interviews with the founders or developers of civic technology firms to learn about the designs of their products and their intended users and outcomes. Six interrelated themes emerged in the analysis that illuminate ideologies, ideals, and pragmatic considerations embedded in the consultative layer, raising new theoretical and practical questions for this emerging professionalized industry.

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