La semana pasada, desplegamos una nueva actualización el Durham Neighborhood Compass, en la que hemos trabajado ya por muchos meses. Por primera vez, el Compass está disponible en Español!
Last week, we pressed “deploy” on a major new upgrade to the Durham Neighborhood Compass that has been in the works for many months now. The Compass is available in Spanish as well as English, for the first time!
According to the most recent American Community Survey, we estimate that nearly twenty-five thousand Durham residents are more comfortable in another language than English, and the vast majority of those Durhamites are Spanish-speakers. The Compass project has a goal of making neighborhood data accessible and usable by every Durham resident. As we saw delegates in Durham’s participatory budgeting process use the Compass earlier this year, the fact that it was only available in English stuck out as a major barrier towards achieving that goal.
Last week, with the help of translators from tilde Language Justice Cooperative, we finally launched a bilingual version of the Compass. tilde was an incredible partner in helping us understand language justice and the importance of thoughtful, human-created translations (as opposed to using a machine-translation technology like Google Translate). They helped us think through how to navigate around gender constraints in Spanish grammar, and also helped us run tests of the newly translated Compass with Spanish speakers to identify any other big usability barriers.
Building in bilingual functionality to the Compass took more than just translation work, however. It took a major rewrite of the code which powers the Compass on the back-end to make it aware of language switching, and to make it so that Spanish-language pages on the Compass would show up in search results. We also got a chance to clean up styling and usability overall, which should benefit all users. One of the added benefits of the new version is that specific indicators in the Compass now show up in search results in both Spanish and English, which we hope will help more residents find the Compass in the first place.
We’re continuing to improve usability and design for the compass — if you have any suggestions please get in touch with us!