Digital Front Door initiative

The City of Oakland is undertaking a redesign of its main website. Municipal websites are the digital front door to a city - a place for sharing information, conducting business, and collecting feedback about what residents want and need. Both residents and public servants were frustrated with the current website. Top concerns for residents centered around information architecture: it’s difficult to find things that they were looking for either via search or the site’s main navigation. 

Code for America is helping the city create a beta site that meets the needs of its users.

The team

Nicole Neditch

Senior Director of Community Engagement, Code for America

Norris Hung

Front-end Developer, Code for America

Colleen Cotter

Former User Experience Lead, Code for America

Caitlin Docker

Content and Community Manager, Code for America

In building this app, the fellows have applied methods gleaned from the technology sector. Working with lean processes, delivering the minimum viable product and iterating based on user experience and community feedback are all valuable ideas that are now being incorporated into the City’s other business processes, effectively changing the culture within City Hall.

— Deanna J. Santana, City Administrator, City of Oakland

2013 Fellowship in Oakland

In 2013, the City of Oakland recognized the need to digitize and improve its public records program. City staff were often unable to navigate the system and the information that was buried in a difficult-to-use website. The public was left wondering how long it would take for the request to be fulfilled. The City of Oakland partnered with Code for America to improve its public records request.

The team built RecordTrac to make it easier for citizens to submit requests and for city staff to manage the fulfillment. City staff can now upload links or documents, send requests to other departments, ask a requester questions, explain whether the information is available online or in paper format, and track the request timing / fulfillment. RecordTrac is widely used across departments to facilitate better relationships between the community and city. 

Local team leads 

  • Karen Boyd, Director of Communications, City of Oakland
  • Nicole Neditch, Online Communications Officer, City of Oakland


The team

Richa Agarwal

2013 Fellow, Code for America

Sheila Dugan

2013 Fellow, Code for America

Cris Cristina

2013 Fellow, Code for America