The team from Rotorua Lakes Council have launched their site only a few weeks ago, but it has already become a stable in all our product and best practice demonstrations....and that is because it is so very good.
We usually choose single projects for our staff picks, but in this case we have picked the entire site. Open any consultation and you will find an excellent project page. Read on to find out what we love about it.
Client: Rotorua Lakes Council, New Zealand
Publish Date: 13 February 2017
Topic: The council has begun consultations around their strategic plan "Vision 2030 - The Rotorua Way" through a variety of different projects and tools.
Tools: Survey, Brainstormer, Places, News Feed, Storytelling
Widgets: SignUp Banners, FAQs, Document Libraries, Lifecycles, Who's Listening, Stay Informed
- Homepage: Easily within the top 5 of all Whitehaven homepages currently out there. The images used by the team at Rotorua Lakes Council are simply stunning. All in extremely high quality, the admins have mixed images featuring faces from the community with beautiful artist impressions from the strategic plan draft paper.
Importantly, the team have ensured the images are just the right size, therefore the site still loads perfectly quick.
- Registration form: The registration form is very well constructed. Although it features quite personal questions, such as first and surname, by inserting text fields that explain why the data is collected and what is done with it, the form does not feel overly intrusive. In addition, many questions include a "(Will remain confidential)", further emphasizing that all data that is collected is stored safely.
Over the first few weeks the team has seen a good amount of registrations.
- Variety of tools: Throughout the site the team has used a variety of tools, not solely relying on the survey tool, but using Places, Brainstormer and even our story telling tool, obtaining good feedback in all tools.
The hero project "Vision 2030 - The Rotorua Way" features four tools, which is probably as much as you want in one single project. However, each tool in this project is used for a specific purpose. If you decide to use three or more tools, it is usually better to make sure they don't overlap in the type of feedback you are after or the questions you ask. Else you may end up with similar feedback in all your tools which can make your analysis afterwards a little tricky.
- Photo Competition: We have seen a few photo competitions in EHQ in the last few years. A memorable one remains the "#IAmPortStephens" competition by Port Stephens Council last year. Rotorua have launched their own and they are receiving some outstanding entries are posted as they come in.
Any type of competition is a great way to raise some awareness of the site and to get the community involved on a fun level.
- Teachers' Resources: What we believe may be a first across EHQ, the site features a project page dedicated to providing resources to teachers to take the vision project into classrooms. What a fantastic way to include schools and children in the consultation process and to introduce community engagement to the next generation.
For further consideration:
Cross Project Links: Although there are links in the top navigation that allow participants to quickly go from one project to the next, the related projects widget could have also been included on some project pages to encourage participants to explore all parts of the site.
OVERALL: What a start to online engagement for the team at Rotorua Lakes Council! A beautiful crafted site, full of evidence of the planning and good practice that went into designing it. With a good rate of contributions and registrations in the first few weeks, the community is clearly appreciating the opportunity to have their say. This should be an instant bookmark by anyone who following EHQ and online community engagement.
NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 13 March 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.