Designing for successful online engagement: Understanding technological frames of citizen and police users of community policing platforms


Work data:

ISSN: 0740-624X

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Democracy | Participation


Online platforms offer efficient avenues for police forces and citizens to engage with each other, especially in the context of citizen-focused preventive policing approaches such as community policing (CP). However, it is not clear which features and functionalities police forces and citizens require for engagement through such platforms. We approached this question from a technological frames perspective and adopted a mixed-method design involving 133 participants from police forces and local communities in six countries. We identified three distinct sub-groups among police and community users: high-need users, complacent users and sceptics, as characterized by group-specific expectations and requirements. We offer two main contributions from our study. First, we propose a novel typology of technological frames in the context of online CP and provide design recommendations to accommodate divergent requirements that exist within and across police forces and citizen groups. In doing so we illustrate the importance of going beyond presupposed user groups, in our case the police-community dichotomy, to design for online engagement. Second, we contribute to the study of structural understandings of technological frames by demonstrating a sequential mixed-method approach that is transferable to other online engagement contexts. This approach can be used to elicit a data-driven typology of user groups and explore divergent technological frames to inform design decisions for online engagement.