This is the second time a staff pick originates in New Zealand. The team at Beef+Lamb had a unique idea for a project and have done exceptionally well in the setup. Read below what makes it great and why we like it.
Site: Beef+Lamb New Zealand
Project: The Great Kiwi Earthworm Survey
Publish Date: 27 May 2015
Topic: Field Research
Tools: Surveys & Forms, Map, Q&A
Widgets: Sign up Banner, Life Cycle, Video Gallery, Document Library, Custom (Twitter)
What we like:
- Idea: What a phenomenal idea for a project to include stakeholders in active field research. Ordinarily, this kind of research would require the researcher to drive from paddock to paddock, digging for worms themselves. Or it would mean a lot of back and forth communication between the research team and the farmers. Having it all in one online project saves time, money and makes it fun(!).
- Combination of tools: Just as unique as the idea is the way to combine two tools via a step-by-step process. In the first step, the team asks the participants to dig a hole in their paddock, count the worms they find and submit the count back to the team via the form. In the second step, they ask to mark the location of their paddock on the map. This allows the research team to later combine the results from step 1 and 2 and obtain a clear picture of worm distribution in NZ.
- Instructions: The instructions on how to participate are as clear as can be and are located right at the center of the page. In addition, there is an instructional video on how to do a worm survey.
Clear instructions can help remove any perceived barriers to participation.
- Prize draw: It is not unusual to see EHQ administrators use prize draws to encourage the community to get involved. This particular draw has a nice touch to it, because the prize is specific to the topic of consultations. Often we only see a generic prize on offer.
- Hashtag Twitter feed: Embedding Twitter feeds into project pages is common practice these days. It is great to see the team at Beef+Lamb took extra steps to enable a hashtag specific feed. Now all tweets with #KiwiWorms are shown.
- Q&A as FAQs: The argument for this point can go either way (see below). If you look at the Q&A tool closely, you will notice how the first few questions were asked by the project team, effectively using the tool as an FAQ section. The views about this practice within the EHQ offices are divided. Some of us like the idea because it combines both FAQs and the Q&A tool into one space, some think there should be a clear separation between the two. They argue that the Q&A tool is for participants to use, the FAQ widget is for the project team.
For further consideration:
FAQ Widget: See point 6 above. If you are in the camp that likes to see FAQs and the Q&A tool separated, you would miss the widget in this project.
- Project name / Call to action: While the project name is to the point (and also note the shorter permalink), we like to see project titles include call-to-actions.
OVERALL: It is apparent that the Beef+Lamb team were thinking 'outside the box' while planning this consultation. What they ended up with is a very cohesive and unique consultation, which hopefully will influence and inspire other EHQ administrators to do the same.
NOTE: The above is based on a visit to the site on 08 June 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.