A Study Of Visual Factors In Municipality Portal Design In The Developing And Developed Countries: A Comparison Between The City Of Tehran And Washington D.C.​​​​​​​
Samira Shiridevich 
UCDA Design Education Summit| 2020| Online

This study intends to compare the visual qualities used in municipality portal designs by the City of Tehran and the City of Washington, D.C. This case study considers the context of these local governments (from a developed and a developing country) and proposes recommendations based on the analysis of the similarities and differences of their online presence. New and developing information and communication technology have produced dramatic changes in citizens’ daily lives across the globe. As a response, “e-government” is a new approach aiming to properly involve citizens. E-governments are able to provide a wide range of information and services to people, including data for research, forms and services, public policy information, employment, and business opportunities, voting information, tax filing, registration or renewal of license, payment of fines, and comments on government officials. This visual analysis focuses on municipalities’ portals based on factors including uniformity of pages, kerning, home screen grids, use of positive and negative space between parts and paragraphs, picture framing, and specific space of search field. This study employs a mixed-methods research approach. The results of the research have been achieved through simultaneous analysis of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The sample frame includes 20 visual elements that were chosen from images of the urban portals of the aforementioned city websites. The portal of the capital city of the United States is ranked the 10th in UN e-Government survey 2018 “ according to the ranking published in public administration.un.org.” The City of Tehran, with a population of nearly nine million people, runs an e-government portal that obviously deals with a non-Latin written language structure. The samples have been examined using a researcher-made checklist whose validity and reliability have been provided by pre-test and retest from a previous study. The visual elements of the samples are categorized into four groups (composition, text, image, and color) and evaluated with the checklist. Analysis of the research data was carried out as quasi-quantitative. The results of this study show similarities and differences in the design of the overall graphical user interfaces reflected in aspects such as the use of an asymmetric grid, scrolling pages, logo location, the width of the columns, and the number of images. It is important to recognize and observe technical and artistic points of the graphical user interface design to understand the fundamentals of the proper design and implementation of these interfaces, particularly in municipal portals, which provide a high level of interaction with people. In order to receive government benefits, not too long ago, people still used to physically visit the required municipal departments without option, often wasting a lot of time and energy. This also led clients to have less constructive interactions with the government. Nowadays, e-government seems to focus on enhancing managerial performance and creating a legal framework that gathers centralized data and promotes social awareness. In the best cases, this municipality model leads to the enhancement of democracy through the distribution of power and greater participation of the people.
Keywords: e-government, portal, graphical user interface, graphic design
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