Author: rebecca@deptofcivicthings.com

Accessibility basics for government websites

Why accessibility matters 1 in 4 Americans are living with some type of disability. 4.6% are blind or have serious difficulty seeing. 5.9% are deaf or have serious difficulty hearing. 10.3% are living with a cognitive disability like dyslexia, attention deficit, or autism. About 1 in 12 men are colorblind. It’s the law. Section 508 … Continued

Plain language basics for government websites

Plain language helps you convey complex information. Your readers understand and get what they need quickly, with fewer questions and less confusion. Benefits of plain language: Helps people know what information means the first time they read it. Makes services easy to use. Is easier to translate into other languages. Reduces calls and emails with … Continued

How local governments are responding to the pandemic (radio show)

In this episode, Voices of the Community features the voices of the cofounder of CivicMakers Judi Brown, Assistant Director of Human Resources at the City of San Jose Kelli Parmley, and former Director of Digital Services and Open Government for the City of San Rafael, Rebecca Woodbury. We focus on the impact that the COVID-19 … Continued

Fostering a service-minded culture

The under-resourced nature of local government often leads to de-prioritization of workplace culture. At the same time, it adds pressure to increase efficiency. The “do more with less” mantra sounds like tired nails on a chalkboard to most public servants. Work culture is made up of several elements including: Purpose (this inspires and motivates us … Continued

Former local IT official wants to ‘demystify’ digital services

Originally published March 2021 in StateScoop: To help small cities and towns go digital, the former digital service director of San Rafael, California, recently announced that she’s launching her own civic technology consultancy. The business, called the Department of Civic Things, is Rebecca Woodbury’s first venture since departing San Rafael in January after 12 years with … Continued

Local gov leader Rebecca Woodbury launches consultancy

Originally published March 2021 in GovTech Magazine: Rebecca Woodbury, the digital services chief for the city of San Rafael, Calif., who made a name for herself as an outspoken advocate for innovation in local government, has started her own company. The startup, called Department of Civic Things, is a consultancy Woodbury has created to carry on her work … Continued

Public service with purpose

Early in my career, my best friend was working as a social worker. She helped LGBTQ foster youth navigate trauma. She supported them in relationships with foster and birth parents, as well as other kids. At the end of the day, she had to document the happenings of the day, sometimes traumatic, into their case … Continued

What is a product owner?

A product owner ensures that a government service or program is effective and meets people’s needs. This role is different from a project manager, who’s job is to make sure a project gets done on time and on budget. The product owner is accountable for whether the service is any good. This mindset helps to … Continued

Product management in local government (podcast)

Originally published by Govlaunch in January 2021: For small to medium-sized governments, resources and budgets are particularly strained and most feel they are understaffed to provide frontline services effectively. On top of this, governments are now navigating a pandemic, which has forced even more attention on the bottom line, the use of digital tools, accessibility, … Continued

Delivery-Driven Government in Action: ‘Together San Rafael’

Originally published May 2019 by Code for America: The founding vision of Code for America is for a government that works by the people, for the people, in the digital age. We want to see this at all levels of government, but we know that the work of changing and improving systems often starts at … Continued

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