Aim for victory – Eurocities

April 19, 2022

While sipping hot tea and coffee, the UserCentriCities project partners met behind their screens to chat with Madrid about the city’s three user-centric apps: Madrid Te Acompaña, Madrid Movil and Madrid Mobility 360.

Older people looking for people to walk around, to do their shopping or to make a medical appointment can count on Madrid Te Acompaña – Madrid accompanies you. The app matches the needs of seniors with volunteers who can help them. Madrid Te Acompaña has been a resounding success: 3,400 seniors have signed up just two months after the application was launched last December.

Commuters, on the other hand, can find answers to their mobility needs on Madrid Mobility 360, a comprehensive application that integrates the city’s public and private mobility offer. The app provides information on buses, trams, the familiar BiciMad public bicycle service, as well as taxi services, electric scooters and parking.

Madrid Movil – Madrid mobile – is the application to which the inhabitants of the city turn for their municipal services online: from administrative procedures to booking sports and leisure activities, from new services using geolocation to reporting problems (the latter is one of the most used functions and helps Madrid be a better city.)

Intrigued by Madrid’s presentation of its apps, we asked Antonio Garcia De La Paz, Vice-Principal of Data Strategy, Director of the Madrid City Council Digital Officeand Javier Lucas Rodriguez, Head of the Data Coordination and Monitoring Department at Madrid City Councilto learn more about User-Centric Projects in Madrid.

What makes your applications user-centric?

Antonio Garcia De La Paz

Antonio Garcia De La Paz
All three focus on citizens and try to improve the way of life for people in our city.

Javier Lucas Rodriguez
User-centric services must have certain characteristics, such as simplicity and user-friendliness. Users must be able to communicate quickly with the vendor or application manager. And of course, user-centric services must include elements of co-creation and co-design.

For example, our Madrid Mobile application offers users clear and accessible information, a quick way to contact the municipality and provides suggestions.

Antonio Jose Garcia De La Paz
Flexibility is another key feature. All our applications are designed to be improved according to future needs. For example, we plan to add aspects that will help users acquire new digital skills within Madrid Te Acompaña. Our mobility app is designed so that if new mobility services appear in the city, they can be easily added. Our services must be able to adapt to the new and emerging needs of our citizens.

How do you make your services as accessible as possible? Do you consider issues like the digital divide?

Javier Lucas Rodriguez

Javier Lucas Rodriguez

We are working on the development and introduction of digital volunteers for all kinds of digital uses in Madrid. Because we know that the digital divide is a fact, and we must work to reduce it. Digital volunteers are people who help other people who have difficulty using digital, such as senior residents, for example.

In addition, the Madrid portal must fulfill accessibility statement‘s requirements. This is another step towards better accessibility.

The way we communicate with our citizens also has an impact on accessibility. And for that, we offer you a practical guide to clear communication with recommendations on how to use easy, direct, transparent, simple and effective language.

Have you applied for UserCentriCities Awards? Will you become the best UserCentriCities service of 2022?

Antonio Garcia De La Paz

Yes, we are applying with our three projects. And we are convinced that we will win. If we don’t believe it, why should others?

Javier Lucas Rodriguez

Our projects are complementary. They give an overview of city services and address issues very close to citizens: mobility, loneliness, care, accessibility of public services. For example, Madrid Te Acompaña caters to older people who need help or companionship. It’s a way of showing them that Madrid and the madrileños (the inhabitants of the city) think of them and offer them time and affection.

What has UserCentriCities taught you and changed your vision of some of your projects?

Antonio Garcia De La Paz

the UserCentriCafés are a great way to find out what partners are up to.

For example, we are now asking the mobility app provider to incorporate a suggestion from one of our cafes, namely to add a feature allowing people to see how much CO2 they are producing over a certain period of time.

It is a good way to take stock of what we are doing and to reflect on future initiatives that could be proposed to the Madrid City Council.

What are your expectations for the future of the project?

Javier Lucas Rodriguez

I have high expectations for the development of a methodology that defines user-centric services in terms of factors and characteristics that we can measure and compare.

Antonio Garcia De La Paz

Having something to compare to will help us set targets and force cities to consider user orientation in their services.

Javier Lucas Rodriguez

Networking is another expectation. It is important to be in contact with people from other cities who are working on the same problems or to talk to people from the European Union who can support us. Although this expectation is already satisfied.

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