In Naperville, It Pays To Be An Idiot

If you are looking for a way to earn a $25 gift card, the City of Naperville has a deal you can’t refuse. The ideal candidate would be an idiot, and I know because I would qualify. Actually, the city needs five idiots.

Naperville city officials want to test the usability of their new website. It’s not really a new website; it was introduced in June of 2016. City officials like to take their time getting around to testing things. There is seldom a sense of urgency about anything when it comes to local government, unless it’s a tax increase, or new ordinance.

The City is looking for folks with a range of website usability experience from “frequent users to non-frequent users”, or simply stated, from knowledgeable users to idiots”.

In my former life (before retirement) I was once selected to participate in this type of project. At the time, I thought that being selected was pretty cool.  Somewhere along the way I realized that I was selected because I was basically clueless about computers, websites, and usability, or again simply stated, an idiot. It reminded me of a cereal commercial in early 70’s; “if Mikey likes it, everyone will like it”.

I had now become Mikey to my company.

It was OK though, because facts are facts, and as my dad would say, “you might as well do what you do best”, and in this case it was being an idiot.

As it turned out, my company’s usability test, created a perfect website, which was great for me, because the website was specifically for the department I was leading. Another example that I didn’t have to know ‘how to make the sausage, just make sure the sausages were made’.

Interestingly enough here I am 7+ years into writing content for Watchdog, while an amazing young man Vinnie Goombotz, aka Manny Lous Skrez, known as the Guard-dog takes care of every aspect of the technology piece of the Watchdog website. He finds and or creates embeds for the posting. He is a person, along with obviously others, who knew Naperville’s website, a few years ago, was vulnerable to hacking, and bingo, within the year it happened. The good news is that at least now the city is interested in getting usability feedback.

The $25 gift card the city is offering, does have one catch; you have to use it in downtown Naperville. I’m not saying that’s bad, but I am saying that it’s another slap in the face to businesses outside of downtown. Naperville city officials continue to treat businesses outside of the downtown area as lesser partners, and this is another classic example.

If you are interested in being selected to participate in this usability test, the in-person interviews will be held June 21 and 22, where programmers vs. evolution meet.

You can contact Linda LaCloche, at the Municipal Center,  for additional information.  Idiots like myself are invited, in fact they are probably preferred.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Haselhorst

    The downtown Naperville gift cards are unique. They are the result of the businesses in downtown forming an alliance that issues these cards which are accepted by all downtown businesses, rather then only one specific business like most of these cards. Unlike a prepaid card, which can be redeemed anywhere in the world, these cards insure the city funds used to purchase these cards are used to support Naperville businesses.

    Naperville businesses outside the downtown area have not formed such an alliance so such a card is not available for these businesses. Meaning Naperville consumers who want their dollars spent supporting Naperville businesses only have one choice at present.

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