Openrampette - THE PROCEDURE - the prototype!

Hello, new update from the open rampette project - the procedure!

We left with user research results during the last episode (link). Insights that were useful for the team at WeMake to start prototyping a new interface, a digital tool to make the regulation procedure more intuitive, easier to fill out, faster, pain and frustration-free.

In order to guarantee accessibility, cross-compatibility and to enable easy iterations and future implementation we decided to prototype a tool in the form of a web app.

Here are the key factors that led us to designing a tool that was user driven instead of bureaucracy driven:


It’s very common for bureaucratic procedures to be designed in a way that first off satisfies bureaucracy needs. In our case, for instance, the way the information is organized doesn’t really take into considerations the way Minerva (our shop owner) would think about solving the accessibility problem, but it put things into the perspective of solving a bureaucratic issue from the point of view of the person who would review the filled module.

As a consequence, the first thing we did was creating a logic chart of the questions that Minerva would ask herself while approaching the accessibility problem.

The questions that would more easily push Minerva out of the procedure were put upfront. This might sound strange for some of you, as if we are helping shop owners skipping the procedure, but of course this is not what we want… Let’s try to wear Minerva shoes for a sec, would you be happy or frustrated to be notified that there is another procedure for shops that are currently under renovation after the procedure have asked you to measure the sidewalk, the obstacle and you have looked for a ramp online? Something tells me you would be quite frustrated…

It’s with this approach that we did our best to guide Minerva exactly to the areas of the procedure that would fit her specific situation and to let her skip all the rest.


A big issue of the procedure that resulted from user research was technical language.

After reading and re-reading all the documents the approach we have taken in this case is two-folded:

  • First we wanted to understand and interpret what really was the point of the question and then formulate a new question that would more easily go to that point using a language that would be closer to Minerva’s one
  • Secondly we followed the rule that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and we accompanied text with pictures and illustrations everywhere possible    


In line with the simplification of the procedure’s logic and the restructuring of the data flow, we decided to give the tool the form of a series of questions, just as if Minerva was being interviewed and assisted by an employee of the municipality during the filling of the procedure.


Last but not least, we wanted to give the interface a fresh but very simple look. We decided to use the guidelines from the opencare project, but we stressed on:

  • Making the text very readable
  • Making the buttons easy to locate and understand
  • Avoiding misleading icons and illustrations

You can test the prototype here and give us feedback.

Your help would be invaluable to design a better tool!

In the next episode we will share what we learned from the usability testing and start a conversation there on how we can make it better :slight_smile:

Great work as usual, @alessandro_contini. On the contrary, you approach makes a ton of sense.

I tested your wizard, and it seems, frankly, great. This is the way govt online services are built when they are built well. A lot of the branches ended up on “contact a professional”, but that’s not your fault.

With @costantino in Bordeaux we discussed a “more punk” approach of just doing it (“it” being your solution 3, the permanent concrete ramp) and getting the City of Milan of giving it a nod or at least looking the other way. But this is a separate discussion. If we do it by the book, I think this prototype solves the problem.

Hi @alberto, thanks for your feedback. Happy to hear you appreciate the work. I’m just the tip of the iceberg here so let me publicly thank @iltype and the openrampette team for working on this during the past few weeks.

We discussed the “punk” approach too. But what came out from co-design sessions was nonetheless a “desire” to comply to the rule, mostly for fear of repercussions and consequent fees.
We then decided to go less hacky and try fixing the existent for this first run.
It turns out that apparently the office in charge of the regulation is open to discuss the current state and form of the regulation itself, starting from the results of our research, and re-write the regulation (hopefully taking into consideration an approach like the wizard we propose).

Let’s see how far it goes…

Hm. Question. If I go by night in front of Minerva’s shop and pour concrete so that a normal wheelchair can now get in, is Minerva still breaking the law? Is she breaking two laws? Does the city require that she pays a fine, takes the ramp down, then rebuilds it? Or do the two rule breakings cancel each other out? In the end, the ramp is there. The only damage was to the paperwork… :slight_smile:

I think we should ask a lawyer :slight_smile:
What we know so far is that if the entrance of Minerva’s shop is facing a public street, then to make whatever kind of changes to the usage/aspect of the sidewalk itself (temporary or permanent) Minerva should ask permission to the Municipality (this is actually what the procedure is all about).
The Municipality is responsible to whatever happens (legally) to this sidewalk.
If at night you go and pour a concrete ramp in front of Minerva’s shop then I guess Minerva should have an alibi that demonstrates she is not responsible of that action.
I mean, in the end Minerva will most probably face a local cop asking for explanation, not the Municipality itself…

How does the city want a shop owner to make the ramp? Get a permit before doing anything, they tell you what they want you to make, and then have it inspected before it gets used? (That’s how you have to do it in the US.) Make a new doorway or separate entrance just for that?

not super easy to reply :wink: due to the intricate burocracy.

for a light solution as a “temporary ramp” the shop owner has to declare the presence of the solution using an A4 from + a small drawing + a “rendering” of the future solution (this is what we called LA PROCEDURA)
When you have all this docs you can send it to the office that check it and you are finally allowed to deploy the ramp when needed.

So this is a technical declarations that is now checked on the paper.

In theory a policemen can go into a shop and check if the shop owner has the ramp + the docs OR the docs to certify that in the shop is impossibile to create a solution for the accessibility (produced by an Architect or similia)

In the prototype described by Ale we worked on the current situation and we tried to streamline it.

In the process we discover a lot of points to improve the overall situations --> from a part to a more general improvemetn

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