Randwick City Council's EHQ is a special site to us. They have always been managing it with great enthusiasm and passion and we love following them. They hold the record for the most submissions in a single survey (almost 5000) and the team is always trying to use EHQ's new functions as soon as they are released. The below project may not be Randwick's most ground-breaking consultation, but a great example of their work nevertheless.
Site: Randwick City Council
Project: Urban Design Awards 2015
Publish Date: 20 April 2015
Topic: Urban Design
Tools: Survey & Forms
Widgets: Life Cycle, Photo Gallery, Document Library, FAQ, Key Dates, Who's Listening
What we like:
- Clear instructions: The project description is a little longer than we would usually recommend, but in this case it makes sense. The field is used to introduce the Design Award and outline the procedure. This is important because this is an official award and there needs to be clarity and transparency of the process.
The FAQs are equally clear and concise. After reading the instructions and FAQs there shouldn't be any questions left from the community. The better the information that is provided initially, the less work the team will have later to answer any questions.
- Who's Listening: As we hinted at in the introduction above, Randwick are always keen on exploring new features in EHQ. They have done so here with our new 'Who's Listening' widget. They changed the name to 'Contact Us' to give it a slightly different angle.
Close date: We see this in place on more and more EHQ sites. Providing a submission close date (or consultation end date) is simply best practice and disappointment from the community is avoided by not closing tools without prior notice.
Life Cycle Widget: The widget is great use here. We note that it is enabled in conjunction with the Key Dates widget, which might be a little bit much. If you had to choose one it should be the life cycle widget here because it looks great and adds to the overall feel of the page.
Photo Gallery: Photos of previous winners have been added to the gallery. Looks beautiful and makes for great viewing.
- The Submission form: The submission form is cleverly divided into several sections and thus despite being actually long, still easy to digest from a participant's point of view. The team could have divided this up on multiple pages too, but the form is very straight forward, there really is no need to do so. It is a good example to show that multi pages are not always necessary for long surveys/forms, if split into sections.
- Project specific banner: No surprise here. We love (almost all) project specific banners.
For further consideration:
Disabling Key Dates: As mentioned above, using both Key Dates and Life Cycle in the same project is not always necessary. In this instance the Key Dates widget could have been disabled to move the Who's Listening further up and in general make the widget space a little shorter.
- Moving instructions survey introduction: Currently the instructions are placed in the project description. They could have also been placed in the survey introduction. The benefit being that the form would be placed higher up the page and might be more prominent for the first time visitor.
OVERALL: Not that we know anything about Urban Design, but it seems to be all about modern and clean looks these days. The consultation is just that too. Nothing to distract from what this is about, clear instructions, yet enough extras to add some colour.
NOTE: The above is based on a visit to the site on 21 April 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project and are not reflected above.