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.
Best Practices: 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 either using a Business Portal testing spreadsheet. If you are reporting using another format, please include all of the following information. The more precise you can be about an issue, the faster we'll be able to fix it.
Project ID. In the URL bar, your application will have a unique ID, which always comes after the text "projects/" in the URL. In the case depicted below, the ID is 22866.
What incorrect behavior is happening. The most common issues that come up when testing are: a fee or permit is not showing up when it should be, or the amount of a fee is not calculating correctly. Let us know exactly which Permit or Fee are incorrect.
What the correct behavior should be, and why. If a permit is not showing up, but it should be, indicate why it should be showing up. If a fee is calculating incorrectly, tell us what the correct dollar amount should be.
By being precise about the location of the incorrect values and what the correct values should be, we'll be better able to locate and trace the source of any issues that arise during testing.
Best Practices: 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 email@example.com if you have questions.