ArticleMay 26, 2020 · 2 min read time
Nitor has been selected as a winner in a restricted tender issued by the City of Helsinki on design and development services for the Helsinki metropolitan area Service Map from February 2020 onwards. Nitor was previously responsible for the complete redesign of the Service Map to improve accessibility and findability of the information on the site. The renewed Service Map was published in January 2020.
The recently renewed Service Map of the Capital Region is an interactive online service that helps the citizens, the employees of the City of Helsinki, and companies operating within the capital region to find services provided by the city. It includes all available public services such as schools, daycare, health care centers as well as many other amenities offered by the government or private sector.
Nitor was also in charge of the Service Map’s redesign during 2019 and the result was launched to the public in January 2020 and is now the provider for the upcoming development during 2020–2021 as well. Nitor and the City of Helsinki have had a general agreement regarding the development of its digital services since 2016.
“The Service Map has more than 20 000 outlets such as libraries, gyms, outdoors and sports venues, and schools. There are also differences in information types between these services. We need to be able to communicate that information to all of our users regardless of their abilities or limitations,” says Otso Hannula, the service designer behind the previous redesign.
By developing the Service Map together with the City of Helsinki, Nitor is playing a part in building a safer and more accessible digital environment. For a public service, meeting the accessibility requirements set by the EU Accessibility Directive is imperative. The Service Map has previously been recognized by The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities and accessibility continues to drive the Service Map development. For example, the designers collaborated closely with Annanpura, a company owned by the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired, to ensure accessible user experience.
“The Service Map needs to be accessible to everyone. It must support aids, such as screen readers. Working together with the experts at Annanpura has been enlightening. The high accessibility demands make the development more challenging, but the end results are truly rewarding,” says UX designer Nina Kannisto.
With this new agreement, the Service Map will be developed further to support the evolving needs of citizens and service providers alike. The Helsinki metropolitan area Service Map fetches its information from the open interfaces within the public sector. As the map is built on open-source data, it also acts as a display for utilizing public information and lowers the threshold of developing such tools. For example, a Nitorian employed the same data Service Map uses by developing a ski trail app for the citizens of the capital area!