Late April Transurban and the Victorian Government announced to progress with the Western Distributor Proposal, which potentially will have a big impact on traffic in Melbourne's West. Just in time with the announcement Transurban launched their first EHQ project, which made it as our staff pick this time.
Site: Consult Transurban
Publish Date: 30 April 2015
Topic: Traffic Infrastructure
Tools: Forum, Q&A, Newsfeed, Map (via Social Pin Point Integration)
Widgets: Sign up Banner, Key Dates, Video Gallery, Document Library, FAQ, Life Cycle, Photo Gallery
What we like:
- Use of Forum: Sometimes we see that forum topics have either very long descriptions or the headings does not make it clear to the participant what in the discussion is meant to be about, and often the two go hand in hand. Sometimes it is hard to avoid lengthy descriptions when you try to provide as much information as is necessary to allow participants engaging meaningfully.
The discussions in this project are a great example how to keep it simple. The two topics are worded as questions (always recommended) and are easy to understand. The team's plan might be to introduce more (complex) topics at a later point, but in order to get people involved early, this is brilliant.
- Combination of tools: One of the topics clearly outlines questions for the project team should not be asked in the discussion. The Q&A is the space to do this. To alert participants of this is a great little way to introduce the next tool (via a link) and to keep the topics for peer-to-peer conversations.
This is what is says: "Please note: this forum is for open discussion and is not constantly monitored by our team. If you have a query please ask a question here so we're able to get back to you as soon as possible."
- The content: There is a lot of content on the site in a variety of different formats. There are photos, videos and a range of PDFs in small files and the FAQ widget provides information in simple text. We love projects that utilise a range of widgets and different file types to inform the community. Some visitors might prefer videos, while other like to read through PDFs. This caters for all of them.
- Social Pin Point (SPP): Transurban chose to integrate with SPP instead of using the in-built map. Depending on the nature of the project, EHQ's mapping tool might work just perfectly, but in this case the SPP offers that little bit more that was needed here. In particular the ability to limit marker placement to a certain area as well as the option to use different types of markers. The seamless integration between EHQ and SPP can be observed here beautifully.
- Contact Us: A little while ago we suggested to use the 'Who's Listening' widget to provide contact us information. But what if there are already too many widgets enabled and/or you don't want to put too much emphasis because you fear that people might contact you instead of using the engagement tools? In that case, use a static page and link to it via a header link. Exactly like the team from Transurban have done.
For further consideration:
Truncating description: The project description is not short. That is not a problem per se, but truncating it might have benefits here. It will move the tools further up the page and will make the site appear less text heavy for the first time visitor.
- Defaulting the Life Cycle widget to current stage: The Life Cycle widget (here: Key steps) has an option to default the widget to show just the current stage. Clicking on the widget would then expand the entire widget showing all stages. Why that might be useful here? Until there are more forum topics published, the widget space is a fair bit longer than the left hand engagement tools column. If at all possible keeping both columns more or less the same length will just look that touch neater.
OVERALL: Transurban are off to a great start. The project is complete all around. It offers a great mix of tools that are already actively used and there is lots of content to explore in various formats. Participants should feel that they find everything they need to know to engage, or just be informed, in one space. That is a great outcome for any EHQ project.
NOTE: The above is based on a visit to the site on 08 May 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.