Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.
I love the ability to report issues to 311 with a few taps of a button and swipes on a screen, but the connection between my phone and the system is inconsistent at best. As reported on Johnny Northside, my first several attempts at using the app were rather anti-climactic. I would consistently get the message, "Connection Error Occurred. Unable To Finish Uploading R..." I recently had my phone system wiped and restored, so I know it's not my individual phone that's having problems. At times, I've submitted a report repeatedly because of connection problems, only to get multiple confirmations of the same submission.
Earlier today, I attempted to report graffiti at 3120 Emerson Avenue North, and got this message three times. I have yet to successfully submit this report.
The other problem I'm encountering with the system is more of a question of semantics. 311 mobile app reports are handled through a site called SeeClickFix. There are a series of choices for what kind of issue you'd like to report, but often things like a cracked sidewalk or deflated balloons/moldy teddy bears/empty liquor bottles around a tree don't fit into the simpler categories. There's the catch-all "other issues" button for that. But then when that report gets submitted, someone at 311 has to assign it to the proper department. Once that assignment has been made, SeeClickFix sends out a notification that the issue has been "resolved."
But "resolved" to me and to most people means resolved. As in the problem no longer exists because somebody did something to resolve it. I like the notification that it's been properly assigned, but the app would work better if the notifications that get sent out are more accurate in their depiction of where the issue is in the resolution process. Otherwise users are likely to go out and report the same issue over and over again, with the assumption that the City mistakenly considers the matter fixed.
The 311 app is a great new tool, but it's not quite where it needs to be yet.