For Immediate Release
ARLINGTON, MA (U.S.) – February 7, 2014 - Online Budget Visualization Tool, Designed by Involution Studios with Town of Arlington, MA Offers Financial Transparency to Taxpayers
Arlington Visual Budget has been selected as a winner of the 2014 iF Communication Design award.
Since its introduction in 2004, the iF Communication Design award has been among the top national and international awards. Designs from advertising agencies, communication designers and their clients, manufacturers, designers, architects and interior architects face the jury judgment.
More than 1,000 entries were assessed according to criteria such as target audience-specific communication and content, design quality and creativity, customer relevance, cost effectiveness, originality and innovation. Of the 311 iF Communication Design award winners, Arlington Visual Budget was among only 20 that received the iF gold award in recognition for an outstanding work of communication design. They will be announced on 28 February 2014 during the awards ceremony in Munich (Germany).
In the fall of 2013, Involution Studios of Arlington, MA, along with the Town of Arlington and Finance Committee members Annie Lacourt and Alan Jones, conceptualized a web application that provides an easier way to communicate complex municipal financial information. Involution donated all development services for this project, the first known municipal budget visual representation of its kind.
The initiative exemplifies the nation’s commitment to the international Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global effort to encourage transparent, effective, and accountable governance. President Obama has challenged agencies to “harness new technologies” and “solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public” and emphasizes a “bottom-up” philosophy that taps citizen expertise to make government smarter and more responsive to private sector demands.
AVB provides the next generation of accessibility in financial information that enables citizens to see, engage, and discuss.
The Visual Budget system converts the town’s revenues and expenditures to simple graphics and charts that describe Arlington’s finances. It also provides definitions for complex budgeting terminology, and includes a tool where residents can input their yearly property tax bill and find out exactly how the town spends their tax dollars. Taxpayers can learn about town revenues, expenses, and funds displayed in both graphical and tabular formats. What’s more, the system enables users to provide feedback and ideas, an essential component of empowering citizens with both information and a greater voice in decision-making.
Town Management Analyst Michael Bouton said he was happy to work with Involution’s creative team on the project. “It was a blank canvas,” Bouton said. “We came in with an idea and the conceptualization of it was them.” Involution designers Roger Zhu and Ivan Dilernia donated their time, and the company has made the code for the project available online for other town governments to use. An Arlington resident, Involution’s Creative Director Juhan Sonin was excited about the collaboration, saying “It’s a part of our civic responsibility as designers to get involved in the design of policy.”
Read what the Sunlight Foundation says about how the Arlington Visual Budget will be used in 2014.
About Involution Studios
Involution designs and builds exceptional software for innovative and visionary companies. We deploy small and experienced teams to create applications that are highly usable and appropriately beautiful. Our client list includes Apple, AstraZeneca, McAfee, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, Shutterfly, and Yahoo. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 617 803 7043.