This fortnight's staff pick comes from Wingecarribee, who have been using EHQ for about 5 years now. The project is about managing the local animal shelter:
Site: Yoursay Wingecarribee
Project: Your Shelter. Your Future. Your Say
Publish Date: 01 February 2015
Topic: Animal Welfare
Tools: Survey, Q&A
Widgets: Signup Banner, Photo Gallery, FAQ, Key Dates, Document Library, Important Links, Life Cycle
What we like:
Links to key documents and tools in the project description: If you read through the project description you will find that everything the community needs to know to make an informed contribution is present. Navigation is made easy through a variety of links throughout the description, in particular links to the key documents and the tools.
Images of animals: The internet is obsessed with animals, in particular cats, which makes it a good idea to include them on projects as well. But there is a serious note to it. It emphasizes the fact that this consultation will affect living creatures. The use of photos here is therefore a great idea.
Combination of tools: The combination of those two tools usually works well. It provides a space for people to quickly leave their feedback (survey), but also an opportunity to get in touch with the project team easily (Q&A).
Fast response time: Although there has only been one question publicly answered so far, the time-stamp suggests that the project team is on top of things. The question was asked on a Sunday and the response was online on Monday. This is hugely important. A fast response time is a MUST and will build trust between you and the community.
Key dates and consultation close date: There are three locations where the consultation close date is highlighted; the project description, the key dates and the life cycle widget. It is a little detail, but important for the community to know. If the close date is the opportunity is taken from the community's to get organised and leave their comments in time.
Document Library: The document library contains all necessary information in accessible format (PDFs) and most of the documents are very small in size, which is recommended. Too often we see that key documents are hosted outside of EHQ and/or are too large. This can cause issues: the location of the document might change and hence the link breaks, it is harder to track how many people are opening the documents and you run the risk of losing people to another website when they cannot find their way back. Having it all in one place is the recommended approach.
For further consideration:
Shorter description: The project description contains all necessary information for the public to get involved. However, the text is a little long which moves the tools out of view initially and requires scrolling. Shortening the text or truncating it would move the tools further up the page and make them a little more prominent.
- Providing the key documents in the survey: The core of the focus are the three proposed models. Although the information is easy to find in the project description, the documents could have also been linked to from the survey introduction. Visitors who skip the project description or find their way right into the survey through a direct link might not see the key documents.
OVERALL: There are plenty of positives about this project. Its simple but complete set up informs the visitors while at the same time provides the opportunity to quickly and easily participate. It pays off, not even half-way through the consultation and Wingecarribee have already received over 150 responses, which equates to an overall 'engaged' rate of roughly 30%. Outstanding!
NOTE: The above is based on a visit to the site on 05 February 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.