2015 is in full swing and over the last couple of weeks we have seen lots of projects published on EHQ sites. This fortnight's staff pick comes from the newly launched Capital Metro site out of the ACT. The project is part of a 4-project consultation:
Site: Capital Metro ACT
Project: Walking and Cycling
Publish Date: 21 January 2015
Topic: Transport Planning
Tools: Forum, Quick Poll
Widgets: Document Library, 2x Custom, Video Gallery, Key Dates
What we like:
Project specific banner: Puts emphasis on the importance of this project and makes it stand out. Especially powerful in conjunction with the project-specific banners on the 'sister' projects.
Rich media content: Using rich media content, such as photos or videos, is always recommended. Using videos to convey information is powerful and adds colour to every project.
Forums contain images: The forum topics are structured around the four options of "Walking and Cycling Design' that are up for consultation. All four options are presented as an image in the corresponding discussion topic. This is likely to increase participation as visitors can have a look at the options and make comments right there and then. There is no need for visitors to navigate back in forth from the discussion topic to the custom widget.
Forum topics outline pros and cons: Rather than providing lots of information through documents in the library, the administrators decided to provide as much information as possible in simple text and image. This makes it easily accessible and does not require any downloads. The consistent use of pros and cons across all four topics makes it easy to compare the options with each other before making a comment.
Quick navigation between projects through header links: The obvious choice here would have been to use a Related Projects widget. However, since all four projects are equally important and are at the core of this EHQ site, the administrators decided to let people navigate from one project to the next through header links.
For further consideration:
Quick Poll as widget: The Quick Poll in this project is used as a tool. Quick Polls are the only tool which can also be set up as a widget. A decision here would have to be made on how much emphasis is put on the Quick Poll. Currently, as a secondary tool next to the forum, the focus is clearly on the discussion topics. Moving the Quick Poll into the widget space could enhance its presence and increase participation, but might compromise overall engagement in the forum.
- Truncate option in project description: The project description conveys all important information and thus is fairly long. By truncating the description the initial text displayed would be shorter and the tools would move further up the page and be a little more prominent.
OVERALL: A well set up project on a professionally looking EHQ site. The innovative use of the custom widgets make this project stand out straight away. The forum topics present all the necessary information for the community to make an informed contribution and it already pays dividends with the first comments coming in shortly after it was published. The Quick Poll could have been placed in the widget space to achieve a higher engagement, but possibly was left as a secondary tool to not distract from the forums.
NOTE: The above is based on a visit on 21 January 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.