Jake Dessau

Below you can find my proejcts completed throughout the semester:

Unit 1
For my project, I chose to design the providence city website in some way. At first, I took a general approach and imagined the Providence website as a community-based page in which featured a transparent modular system to feature all categories of changes to the city site. Users could log on and track new proposed bills, news, petitions, etc. However, this approach felt too general, so I decided to refine my project to focus specifically on how the city might use the web to increase citizen participation in town hall/city council meetings. Since so few people attend these meetings due to a lack of awareness of the issues being discussed, I conceptualized creating a city-run site which allowed users to subscribe to issues that interested them. The site would scan the city council agendas as they came out and alert citizens if their subscribed topics were being discussed. The site would also be used as a tool to improve both the efficiency of city council meetings and citizen participation. Pages dedicated to each meeting would change before, during, and after the meeting to allow people unable to attend the meetings to voice their concerns on issues. In turn, this would allow city council members to develop a greater understanding of the opinions of the people and ideally inform how they vote. Realistically, most people don’t want to sit in on city council meetings, however some may be inclined to get more involved in local politics if they can do so on their on time and still have the option to ensure their voices are represented online. This was my attempt to use the web to enhance democracy, a process reliant upon the participation of the community it works to serve.

Unit 2
This project was created as a collaboration with Mostyn Griffith. For me, it was a direct response to my execution of Unit 1; I wanted to continue to explore how it might be possible for the web to facilitate local democracy. Mostyn and I theorized a web platform where citizens and local representatives could communicate on pressing issues. Our idea came to us after discovering Kialo. We thought it would be interesting to apply a similar concept to democracy so that local representatives might make more informed votes which reflect the views of their constituents. Our platform would enable citizens to express their views while simaltaneously expose them to the opposing argument in case they might be open to changing their viewpoint. In our proposed system, citizens can follow the logic of their local representatives, just as representatives can follow the logic of their constitutents and address any misleading information. By mapping out the logic behind complex political decision making, citizens and representatives alike might find they have more in common than they may otherwise think.

Unit 3
For my final project, I was interested in focusing on creating work that was less theoretical. Although my web development skills are limited, I figured I would practice them by calling attention to a relevant issue affecting all Americans: Net Neutrality. To address the upcoming December 14th vote, I decided I wanted to create a single page website which explained the issue and why it’s relevant to all Americans. In the past, I’ve slowly learned about the issue, and yet I have pieced little bits of information together to understand the issue at hand. This site attempts to piece that story into one place where people who are uninformed or indifferent might learn and become more involved. I also played with using that same visual language to create an IG post to experiment with using existing media platforms to spread a message.

Greenbay Packers Presentation

I Voted Stickers