Open Media Foundation teamed up with The Civic Canopy to develop The Civic Network, an online platform making collaboration among professional groups easier and more accessible. This exciting, new platform allows groups to learn from one another, share ideas, and discuss successes and failures. Functionality includes tools to streamline document sharing, communicate, and identify collective measures of community progress. Additionally, the platform makes networks and their connections more visible through maps and visualizations, expanding professional community at the click of a button. The Civic Network combines the power of social media with professional tools to create a unique platform, opening up new possibilities for nonprofits to form meaningful, beneficial alliances.
Gaining buy-in from the potential user and stakeholder base was pivotal to the success of the project. To garner this support, Open Media Foundation conducted user interviews with potential power users identified by Civic Canopy. This group was re-engaged at the end of the process for user testing and a soft launch at the Civic Canopy Summit in November, 2016. This user-centered design process not only garners support for the platform, but also ensures that we are producing a product that is valuable and suited to users’ needs, an application that they will really use. We found that users have significant loyalty to their processes and tools, and that finding a workflow that works for both tech-savvy and not tech-savvy users was essential. The OMF Team used these insights to shape the structure of the tools, yielding a flexible, integrated system with unlimited potential to form a continuously expanding network of organizations.
The Open Media Foundation is not only happy to produce this project for Civic Canopy, but also to use it ourselves!