Your site is almost ready to go! Before we launch, it's very important that staff test the site for content and accuracy. Testing will help staff become more comfortable with the tool and ensure that the public is getting the right information.
We've noticed that more pre-launch testing results in fewer changes post-launch.
Use existing applications to verify that the results are the same. Or, as people come into City Hall, use the system to input their information.
- Missing questions
- Question and page order / Flow of questions
- Context: Have we answered any questions that the applicant might have?
- Login: At what point should applicants be required to login to the site?
- Process Navigation: Does the applicant understand where they are in the zoning / permitting process?
Almost all the text you see can be edited, including page titles, introductory text on pages, questions, permit names, and descriptions.
Testing the Business Portal
To ensure that the permits and fees are configured correctly, we encourage staff to test by entering recent applications submitted via the City's current application system. Check that the permits triggered in OpenCounter are the same as the current system, and that the fees are equal. Let OpenCounter staff know of any discrepancies.
Testing the Zoning Portal
One of the best way to test is to create a spreadsheet—ideally a shared document like a Google Doc—that keeps all staff tests in one place.
Use the spreadsheet to keep track of:
- Search Term, Zone
- Address (optional)
- Permission shown by ZoningCheck
- Correct Permission
- Other Notes
OpenCounter staff will create columns to track which corrective actions were taken, when, and by whom.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
Goal: SMEs should be able to verify that the fees for their section are accurate and that all the information they are looking for has been asked in the appropriate section. Generally, "Yes" responses will trigger additional questions and help to determine fees. Subject matter experts should respond "Yes" to the questions relevant to their area of expertise.
- Questions relating to Licensing/Clerk/Treasury will be in the section titled "Operations".
- Questions relating to Building are found in the "Site" section. Building experts should be sure to answer "Yes" to the question about doing physical work to the site.
- Switching the scope of work between new construction, addition, and tenant improvements will reveal different pathways through the system.
- Answering "Yes" to different types of work will also trigger new flows and fees.
- Hazmat questions are within the "Operations" section. Experts should answer "Yes" to the question "Does your business use hazardous materials?"
- Fire questions are triggered for building projects based on Scope of Work (frequently New Construction) and/or the response to the question "Will you be installing or modifying fire alarms, sprinklers, or fire suppression systems?"
Once configuration is complete, it usually takes several weeks for cities to test. The week following, OpenCounter staff make corrections and turn it around for final review.
As always, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.