Last month we launched the prototype demo of our new digital bulletin board as part of a green paperless initiative!

Presently, when hearings are deferred or there are updates to the agenda, time, location, etc., paper copies of the amendments are printed and distributed to City Hall and several floors at 250 Broadway. The idea to have a paperless solution has been in the works for a long time, but only now did we have ability to push this project forward.

The digital bulletin board takes the design and feel of its paper counterpart and makes all the information easily accessible. Using the Legistar API we pull down all currently scheduled hearings, all the agenda items for each hearing, and the name of the Chairperson for that particular committee conducting the hearing.

Paperless Hearing Calendar Demo!

We designed an auto-scroll feature to start when all the information has been loaded, giving it a hands-free browsing capability. Did the autoscroll pass today’s hearings? Did you want to see a hearing next week? No problem! Touching the screen will pause the autoscrolling for 10 seconds; long enough for you to scroll where you want! After 10 seconds, autoscroll will resume where ever you’ve left it. Is 10 seconds not long enough? We got you covered! The autoscroll status bar at the top left corner does more than just tell you if autoscroll is enabled or paused. If you tap the status bar, it will turn off autoscrolling until you tap it again to resume.

You might ask if the information being displayed is up-to-date. For the moment the answer is “yes” and “no”. Our Legislative Documents team update our data from behind the scenes as changes happen, so to compensate for this we added a feature to refresh the app every time to auto scroll feature has reached the bottom of the list. By refreshing the page so frequently, we are able to display changes to the calendar almost as soon as it happens. This feature is still a work in progress, but for the prototype we think it did a great job!

First we tested it with our staff and Council Members for a couple weeks and over the last few weeks we have been allowing the public to use the interface and provide any helpful feedback. Now we are ready to move into the next phase of development! We plan to scale this up from just a simple Surface tablet to a much larger monitor powered by a Raspberry pi while still maintaining it’s touchscreen capability and all of its core features.

This is really exciting for us and we can’t wait launch the final product!

Stay tuned for more updates!

The Council Labs Team