Staff Picks

Learning from others is the best way to get ideas for your next consultation!

Our Staff Picks hub is where you will find a range of resources to help improve your online engagement practice. On this page, you can find content using the categories filter on the right.Read through our latest;
  • EHQ Staff Picks
  • Online Community Engagement Advice
  • EHQ Best Practice
If you have better practice suggestions or would like to ask us a question about any of the resources in this section, please use the Ask Us tool below.

Learning from others is the best way to get ideas for your next consultation!

Our Staff Picks hub is where you will find a range of resources to help improve your online engagement practice. On this page, you can find content using the categories filter on the right.Read through our latest;
  • EHQ Staff Picks
  • Online Community Engagement Advice
  • EHQ Best Practice
If you have better practice suggestions or would like to ask us a question about any of the resources in this section, please use the Ask Us tool below.
  • EHQ Staff Pick: Vision Australia

    4 months ago
    Vision_australia

    We are very excited about this weeks staff pick because it has a positive impact for all out clients. Vision Australia launched their EngagementHQ site in early November. Not only is it fantastic to see Vision Australia leap into online community engagement, we could not be prouder that EHQ has been selected for this significant step. We have been feverishly working closely with Vision Australia to make EHQ more accessible for the Blind and Low Vision Community.

    Client: Vision Australia

    Template: Whitehaven

    Site: Participate Vision Australia

    Publish Date: 05 November 2016

    Topic: "Participate Vision Australia"... Continue reading

    We are very excited about this weeks staff pick because it has a positive impact for all out clients. Vision Australia launched their EngagementHQ site in early November. Not only is it fantastic to see Vision Australia leap into online community engagement, we could not be prouder that EHQ has been selected for this significant step. We have been feverishly working closely with Vision Australia to make EHQ more accessible for the Blind and Low Vision Community.

    Client: Vision Australia

    Template: Whitehaven

    Site: Participate Vision Australia

    Publish Date: 05 November 2016

    Topic: "Participate Vision Australia" is comprised of a variety of projects for people who are blind or have low vision to share information, tips and experiences. The consultations topics range employment, to education and social inclusion.

    Tools: Forum, Brainstormer

    Widgets: Signup Banner, Photo Gallery, FAQ, Key Dates, Related Projects,

    We love:

    1. The approach: Big kudos to Vision Australia for taking the leap into online community engagement. Many organisations are required to tick a lot of compliance boxes before they are ready to make the move and launch their site. Arguably, this is a lot stricter for Vision Australia than in many other organisation due to their commitment to ensure people who are blind or have low vision have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

    2. EHQ's accessibility compliance: This staff pick must also give credit to our development teams' continued commitment to consider WCAG highest standards. Accessibility has always been high on our agenda, but our work with the team from Vision Australia has undoubtedly pushed this to another level and made EHQ one of the most accessible online engagement systems in the world. Read more about our accessibility compliance here.

    3. ALT texts: Although we develop EHQ in such a way that all features and functionality is accessible, there are certain areas of EHQ that need the administrators input for full accessibility. One such area is the ALT text for images. An ALT text is used by screenreaders when an image is displayed. Because people who are blind or have low vision cannot rely on information to be conveyed just via an image, it is important to provide meaningful ALT text so that the visitor can make sense of what the image is displaying. You can insert your own ALT text in various places in EHQ, for example in any images you use on your homepage or in your project pages. Meaningful ALT text should at the very least describe the text that is part of the image or describe what is visible in the image. The team at Vision Australia have done so wherever applicable.



    4. Use of tools: Intuitively, one might think that our Survey or Forum tools may be the best tool to achieve accessibility, simply because of their simplicity, since there is mostly text. However, we always aim to make all tools accessible and credit must go to the team at Vision Australia to explore the use of the Brainstormer and make it the hero tool on most of their project pages.

      The Brainstormer was also used to collect ideas during a live event, thus combining face to face and online engagement. The Brainstormer has been used for that more and more in recent month which is a great development to watch.

    5. Range of engagement: Vision Australia have launched their site with a whole range of projects and consultations topics published. We have emphasized in the past that when you launch a new site or a new project, you should aim to publish multiple engagement opportunities at the same time. Participants who have participated once may just be in the mood to continue to do so, which is why you should give them plenty of opportunities to do so.

    For further consideration:

    1. About Us: Although the 'About Us' project page is a great idea, it is a bit light on information and could have done with a bit more detail and FAQs. Also, a News Feed on this page might have been helpful to keep the community updated with whats happening across the site.

    2. Newsletter Sign Up: The 'About Us' page also features a link to an external newsletter subscription. Obviously, we would have liked to see this being done via EHQ, but we understand that sometimes there are cases where an already existing newsletter subscription must be utilised. In that case, the team could have embedded the subscription form in a custom widget as opposed to providing an external link that navigates people away from the site.

    OVERALL: We are very proud of this site and so should the team at Vision Australia. Great effort has been undertaken to achieve the best possible accessibility for people who are blind or have low vision, both through EHQ's features as well as meaningful images and ALT text. Full accessibility is a journey that really never ends, so the challenge for all involved will be to maintain the high standards achieved at the time of site launch.

    NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 11 November 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.

  • New: Hub Administrator

    4 months ago

    We are back with a EHQ beta release for our new role, Hub Administrator. If you want this feature enabled, please get in touch with us at support@engagementhq.com

    In addition to the Site and Project Administrators, a Hub Administrator is a Project Administrator with a few capabilities as that of a Site Administrator such as accessing the Participants page and sending newsletters.

    While a Site Administrator has access to make changes across sites and projects, the various capabilities of a Hub Administrator and a Project Administrator can be seen in the table below:

    Hub Administrator Project Administrator
    ... Continue reading

    We are back with a EHQ beta release for our new role, Hub Administrator. If you want this feature enabled, please get in touch with us at support@engagementhq.com

    In addition to the Site and Project Administrators, a Hub Administrator is a Project Administrator with a few capabilities as that of a Site Administrator such as accessing the Participants page and sending newsletters.

    While a Site Administrator has access to make changes across sites and projects, the various capabilities of a Hub Administrator and a Project Administrator can be seen in the table below:

    Hub Administrator Project Administrator
    Can access only those projects assigned by the Site Administrator, can access the rest of the projects as a Participant Can access only those projects assigned by the Site Administrator, can access the rest of the projects as a Participant
    Can add a new Project Cannot add a new Project, can only access projects assigned by the Site Administrator
    Can clone a Project Cannot clone a Project
    Can delete a Project Cannot delete a Project
    Can publish a Project Cannot publish a Project
    Can view the list of Projects assigned by the Site Administrator Can view the list of Projects assigned by the Site Administrator
    Can view Participants Cannot view Participants
    Can send Newsletters Cannot send Newsletters
  • Places Is Now Available On All EHQ Sites

    4 months ago
    Map_styles

    The transformation is complete. What was known as 'Mapper' is now Places and with a new name comes plenty of new functionality. After weeks of development and beta testing, we are excited to release Places to all sites.

    Existing maps will automatically migrate to the new version, no need for you to do anything. However, we do recommend you log in and set up a test map for yourself. This is a release you do NOT want to miss!

    What's new?

    1. Centred Map: Where in the old map your participants could move about as much as they wanted, Places... Continue reading

    The transformation is complete. What was known as 'Mapper' is now Places and with a new name comes plenty of new functionality. After weeks of development and beta testing, we are excited to release Places to all sites.

    Existing maps will automatically migrate to the new version, no need for you to do anything. However, we do recommend you log in and set up a test map for yourself. This is a release you do NOT want to miss!

    What's new?

    1. Centred Map: Where in the old map your participants could move about as much as they wanted, Places restricts the map to what you select during set up. If you want people to be limited in their pin placement to a very specific area, simply select that area and the level of zoom. If a participant tries to move out of this area, the map snaps back and centers it to what you have selected. If you want to be even more restrictive, see point 6 below.

    2. Different Map Styles: Choose from eight different map styles, including Satellite view.


    3. Different Pins: You can now determine categories for your pins and choose from a whole library of different icons. You can also rename each pin and assign a colour of your choice.


    4. Filter pins by category: Now that you can enable multiple categories, your participants will be able to filter the categories to have the map only display pins they are interested in.


    5. Photo Upload: Allow your participants to upload photos into their pins.

    6. Draw Boundaries: You can now draw a zone into your map and restrict pin placement to that zone.


    7. Address details: Placing a pin will automatically search for the corresponding address to this pin. Participant can now also search for an address proactively.


    8. Full size: Participation in 'Places' will occur in full screen.

    9. Fully responsive: Places is a treat to engage with, even on mobile phones and tablets. More than just being responsive, Places is EHQ's first tool in which has its own mobile version that works beautifully on any device, without any additional download.

    10. Find your location: On those sites that have an SSL certificate installed, participants can find themselves on the map. This is extremely helpful if people want to engage on their phone, while they are visiting an area you are consulting on.


    11. GIS Layers: Apply GIS layers to your map to further customise the map and provide additional context for your participants.

    12. Pin clustering: Depending on the level of zoom, pins will now form clusters. This will improve the look of the map and ensure that even maps with lots of pins remain visually attractive and can be navigated with ease.

    What remains the same?

    Survey: In 'Places' you can still construct a survey that is displayed to the participant before they can submit their pin. In the survey, you can still choose from five different questions types (six if you count the photo upload from above as a separate question).
    • Single Line
    • Essay
    • Dropdown
    • Radio Button
    • Checkboxes
    Reporting: Reporting has been left untouched for now. As before, in an detailed Excel report you will find:
    • Date and time of contribution
    • Participant's registration details
    • Latitude and longitude of pin
    • Pin category
    • Comment
    • Any additional survey questions you may have asked
    As usual, if you have any questions, ideas or concerns, contact us via support@engagementhq.com
  • EHQ Staff Pick: Managing Cannock Chase, By Dialogue Matters, UK

    4 months ago
    Dialogue_matters

    Our presence in the UK is growing steadily and it was only a matter of time until a project from Great Britain would make it as our staff pick. A few have been on our radars for a while and the 'Shaping the Future' consultation, run by Dialogue Matters, has finally been the pick of the bunch. The consultation is around managing Cannock Chase - a country park in the heart of England - and about understanding how people use this beautiful strip of nature. Read why we like it below.

    Client: Dialogue Matters

    Template: Torquay, bypassing the homepage

    ... Continue reading

    Our presence in the UK is growing steadily and it was only a matter of time until a project from Great Britain would make it as our staff pick. A few have been on our radars for a while and the 'Shaping the Future' consultation, run by Dialogue Matters, has finally been the pick of the bunch. The consultation is around managing Cannock Chase - a country park in the heart of England - and about understanding how people use this beautiful strip of nature. Read why we like it below.

    Client: Dialogue Matters

    Template: Torquay, bypassing the homepage

    Project: Shaping the Future

    Publish Date: 10 October 2016

    Topic: "Shaping the future" is a project being run to work out how best to keep Cannock Chase special for nature and people. It invites local people and stakeholders to have their say.

    Tools: Places, Stories, Survey, Quick Poll

    Widgets: Signup Banner, Quick Poll, Document Library, Photo Gallery, FAQ, Important Links

    We love:

    1. Places: Undoubtedly the hero of this project. Participants are asked to place pins on areas of the country park they visit the most. To do this, they can choose between seven different categories, all with their own colour and icon, which is a new option in our revamped Places tool.

      The team has decided to ask people to register before they can place a pin, which is a great way to build a community. Once registered, participants can place pins anywhere on the map and the team has enabled the option to upload photos to pins. This is also a new feature of Places and perfect for a consultation of this nature (pun intended). Not many participants have uploaded photos though. Maybe the fact that photos can be added could have been emphasized and encouraged in the tool description.

    2. Accompanying documents: Two documents are uploaded to the project page. While the bigger of the two is quite complex and long, the smaller file is showing a simple overview of the 'Habitat Management Options'. Both the design and language in this document are simple and therefore easy to understand.

    3. Plain language: Similar to the document mentioned above,plain language is used throughout the entire site. The project description is kept simple, as are the FAQs as well as the language used in the survey. Sticking to plain language is important to ensure your entire audience, which may come from a variety of different education levels and technical understanding of the consultation topic, are feeling confident to have their say.

    4. Stage of engagement: As outlined in the opening paragraphs, in this stage of the consultation it is very much about understanding "...what matters to people and how people use and enjoy the area today." The tools in use - Places, Stories, Quick Poll and Survey - work well to achieve this goal and they are all framed openly to invite people to share their experiences and preferences. It is all designed for the consultation team to get a better understanding of what role the region plays in people's lives.

    For further consideration:

    1. Colours: The primary colours on this site are green and purple, which represent the dominant colours of the region's nature. For that reason they work well, but it does take a moment to get used to.

    2. Length of text: The project description, albeit written in simple language, is fairly long. The team may want to consider shortening the text or truncating the description. Both actions would ensure the tools move further up the page and are visible to participants without scrolling.

    OVERALL: Our first pick from the UK is testament to the growing presence of online community engagement and the ever increasing quality of consultations. We love to see Places being used to allow people to share their experiences and with pins from seven different categories, it adds even more colour to an otherwise already very colourful and bright project page. We are looking forward to seeing the subsequent stages of this consultation unfold.

    NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 26 October 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.


    comment
    Ajax-loader-transparent
    Didn't receive confirmation?
    Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password or use a different email ID
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • EHQ Staff Pick: Level Crossing Removal Authority, Victoria, Australia

    5 months ago
    Lxra

    The Level Crossing Removal Authority recently launched their EngagementHQ site with a bang and, just a couple of weeks into the consultation period, they are on their way to breaking all sorts of EHQ records. The number of visits, engagements and registrations are quite astounding and undoubtedly that is due to the marvellous setup of their projects (and probably the very important topic too!).

    The team has published a whole range of projects pages and any of those could have made it as a staff pick. However, we chose the 'Edithvale Road, Edithvale' project because it has the received the... Continue reading

    The Level Crossing Removal Authority recently launched their EngagementHQ site with a bang and, just a couple of weeks into the consultation period, they are on their way to breaking all sorts of EHQ records. The number of visits, engagements and registrations are quite astounding and undoubtedly that is due to the marvellous setup of their projects (and probably the very important topic too!).

    The team has published a whole range of projects pages and any of those could have made it as a staff pick. However, we chose the 'Edithvale Road, Edithvale' project because it has the received the highest number of contributions so far.

    Client: Level Crossing Removal Authority, Victoria, Australia

    Template: Whitehaven

    Project: Edithvale Road, Edithvale

    Publish Date: 06 September 2016

    Topic: The Level Crossing Removal Authority is proposing to remove 50 dangerous and congested level crossings to transform the way people live, work and travel across metropolitan Melbourne. EHQ is used to open the conversation and hear the communities' thoughts on the removals.

    Tools: Survey, Forum, Q&A, Quick Poll, News Feed

    Widgets: Custom (map embed), Video, Key Dates, FAQ, Document Library, Life Cycle, Related Projects

    We love:

    1. Overall quality of site: Any of the seven open consultations could have made it as the staff pick. They all have been created thoroughly and with great attention to detail. It is evident the team has spent lots of time thinking about how to engage and what information to provide to better explain crossing removals in as much detail as possible, while keeping the language and tone simple.

    2. Survey design: If you are reading our staff picks regularly, you will have noticed by now we like to emphasize that engagement is much more than just surveys. The team at the Level Crossing Removal Authority have certainly taken this on board and are engaging through a variety of tools. Having said that, the surveys they have published are designed smartly with a lot of best practice.

      • Introduction: One of the best survey intros we have seen. It gives indication of how long the survey will take to complete and, although by now probably commonly known, it explains that an asterix depicts mandatory questions.
      • Context: As people are asked to complete the survey, the team gives context and provides key information in the survey description that helps respondents to complete the survey with better understanding of the issue, hence providing more meaningful feedback.
      • Demographic questions at the end: The survey is split over three pages to break it into multiple parts and make it appear a bit shorter than it is. In addition, the demographic information is collected at the end. Good surveys are designed in such a way that you ask for specific feedback first, people want to get on with it, and then ask for any required demographic information towards the end.

    3. Registration requirement: One of the most frequent questions we hear from clients new to EHQ is if registration is a barrier to participation. It is not, and this site is a great case in point. Over 1000 people registered within the first few days. When people want to have their say, the registration will not be a barrier and the benefits for you, the administrator team, will be immense. The team at Level Crossing Removal Authority is now building a solid database of contacts to communicate with when updates about the consultation are available or if more projects are published. This would not be possible if registration was optional.

    4. Breadth of information: The amount of information and the very sophisticated widget column are great examples how providing lots of supporting documentation is a great way to educate participants and to give people enough reasons to spend some time on the site and understand the issues. There are three widgets we really like:

      • Custom widget: The custom widget features an embedded map, which shows what railway crossing is in focus in this project.
      • Video: If you look at just one piece of information on this site, make sure its the video. The team has produced a range of stunning videos for each project page, featuring members of the team, explaining in plain English what is proposed and why it is important. We are tempted to say these are the best videos ever featured in a EHQ project page.
      • Lifecycle: As you would imagine, consulting about railway crossings and finally removing the crossings is a big job. The Lifecycle outlines these stages nicely and gives a great overview of what will happen over the next few years before constructions starts. It also outlines what will happen to the feedback that is collected during the consultation.

    5. Team involvement: The team has not only enabled the Q&A tool to answer questions directly, but they are actively joining in the discussions in the forum to reply to questions and potentially facilitate the conversations. While this is no doubt a time consuming task, it is fantastic to see and promotes trust and transparency among the community. In addition, the participants will see that their feedback and thoughts matter as the team is at hand to read and respond to comments.

    For further consideration:

    1. Document sizes: We have praised the variety of information that is available on the project page above. While the library is extensive, some of the documents are very large, up to 12MB. Other documents are available only in PDF. As we have mentioned before, efforts should be made to make sure that documents are as small as possible and available in PDF where applicable. Some people may not be able to open Word documents.

    OVERALL: This is easily one of the best EHQ sites we have ever seen. The amount of positives highlighted above is quite outstanding and with fantastic response rates, it clearly pays dividends. The entire EHQ site is one to bookmark and follow over the next few months and years. An outstanding effort by the Level Crossing Removal Authority team, which we highly commend.

    NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 30 September 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.

  • Upgrade: Sending Emails From Your Domain

    5 months ago
    2016-08-29_10-12-08

    We are happy to advise that we have significantly simplified the process to send emails from your own domain. You can now, in a few steps and with a little bit of help from your friends (us), start sending emails from EHQ that appear to be coming from your own domain.

    Why might this be interesting?

    By default, any email that is sent from within your EHQ will either be sent via notifications@engagementhq.com (all notification emails) or news@engagementhq.com (the newsletter).

    While technically there is nothing wrong with that and it has proven to be effective over the years, there are... Continue reading

    We are happy to advise that we have significantly simplified the process to send emails from your own domain. You can now, in a few steps and with a little bit of help from your friends (us), start sending emails from EHQ that appear to be coming from your own domain.

    Why might this be interesting?

    By default, any email that is sent from within your EHQ will either be sent via notifications@engagementhq.com (all notification emails) or news@engagementhq.com (the newsletter).

    While technically there is nothing wrong with that and it has proven to be effective over the years, there are two drawbacks to this.

    1. You lose a bit of branding when that happens. If your site is branded "Your Say [ORGANISATION]", "Your Thoughts [ORGANISATION]" or something similar, but your emails come from @engagementhq.com, you miss out on a chance to further emphasize your brand and give the email that little bit of extra credibility, since it is coming from a known source, i.e. your organisation.
    2. While we check the deliverability of all our emails and consistently achieve success rates of over 98% of all emails, the last 2% can be affected by spam filters at the recipient's inbox. While not a guarantee, emails that come from an official email address, in particular any emails that contains a .gov, have an even greater chance of making it past the spam filter.

    If we do this, how do our emails look like?

    We have recently set this up for the Fair Work Commission in Victoria, Australia. Any emails that they sent now will, in Gmail, look like the below. You can see the appeal of this domain change straight away as the email is sent via the official @fwc.gov.au.

    What do I need to do to set this up?

    Two things need to happen

    1. Talk to your IT / web team and give them a heads up that you will require their help to make a couple of minor DNS changes.
    2. Send us an email to support@engagementhq.com and copy your IT contact into this email. We will then provide instructions of what exact DNS changes we require and we will take it forward from there.

    For more details, have a look here.

  • Get Ready for EHQ Places

    6 months ago
    2016-09-07_18-08-28

    Our completely re-imagined and redeveloped mapping tool, now branded 'Places', is nearing its completion. Over the last few weeks we have begun to enable Places on selected EHQ sites that are currently not actively engaging with the old mapping tool and are therefore in a good place to experiment with Places.

    Yesterday, our first ever Places map was published by the City of South Perth, and it looks terrific.

    If you are interested in trying out Places exclusively before we roll it out to the wider platform, read this article and get in touch with us.

    Our completely re-imagined and redeveloped mapping tool, now branded 'Places', is nearing its completion. Over the last few weeks we have begun to enable Places on selected EHQ sites that are currently not actively engaging with the old mapping tool and are therefore in a good place to experiment with Places.

    Yesterday, our first ever Places map was published by the City of South Perth, and it looks terrific.

    If you are interested in trying out Places exclusively before we roll it out to the wider platform, read this article and get in touch with us.

  • New: Follow Project Widget And Email Preferences

    6 months ago
    Thumbnail_fp

    Late July we started a double release that introduced a new widget and will allow you and your participants to manage their email preferences, much in the same way that you already know you can from other applications like LinkedIn or Facebook.

    As with our Participant Management release recently, we are in the process of making communication with and from EngagementHQ more effective and easier to manage. This is another step in this direction and you can expect more communication focused releases in the future.

    This release has been rolling out in stages starting 01 August 2016.

    Follow Project Widget

    ... Continue reading

    Late July we started a double release that introduced a new widget and will allow you and your participants to manage their email preferences, much in the same way that you already know you can from other applications like LinkedIn or Facebook.

    As with our Participant Management release recently, we are in the process of making communication with and from EngagementHQ more effective and easier to manage. This is another step in this direction and you can expect more communication focused releases in the future.

    This release has been rolling out in stages starting 01 August 2016.

    Follow Project Widget

    This widget was developed based on popular demand. It allows participants, registered or unregistered, to 'follow' any published projects, effectively becoming a subscriber for emails. It is a simple field that asks for an email address.

    The list of subscribers is then collated and made available to you in the newsletter, where you can decide to send the emails to the subscribers of a project.

    The follow project can be selected form the list of available widgets in any project. See here for technical detail.

    Email Preferences

    Administrators

    Some of our sites already sent out weekly digest emails, which includes a summary of all activity on your site, as well as archival summary emails, which include a summary report for you when you archive your project. Every administrator can now enable or disable these emails individually. This is a new function added when you manage your profile.

    Participants

    While unregistered participants are asked to verify their email after following a project, already registered participants can find all their subscriptions in their profile page.

    As usual, please direct any questions about this release to support@engagementhq.com

  • EHQ Staff Pick: City of Nedlands, Western Australia

    6 months ago
    Nedlands_2

    This is the second pick for the City of Nedlands in just a few months. The first time we highlighted the consistently brilliant preparation of their consultations and the idea of 'informing projects'. While this project is another example of a great project setup, this time we really like the approach to the overall engagement. Read below what grabbed our attention in particular.

    Client: City of Nedlands, Western Australia

    Template: Whitehaven

    Project: St.Peters Square Gardens - Playground Equipment Upgrade

    Publish Date: 22 August 2016

    Topic: The city is upgrading playground equipment in a local playground and is asking the community... Continue reading

    This is the second pick for the City of Nedlands in just a few months. The first time we highlighted the consistently brilliant preparation of their consultations and the idea of 'informing projects'. While this project is another example of a great project setup, this time we really like the approach to the overall engagement. Read below what grabbed our attention in particular.

    Client: City of Nedlands, Western Australia

    Template: Whitehaven

    Project: St.Peters Square Gardens - Playground Equipment Upgrade

    Publish Date: 22 August 2016

    Topic: The city is upgrading playground equipment in a local playground and is asking the community on feedback on four different proposed designs.

    Tools: News Feed, Quick Poll, Q&A, Guestbook

    Widgets: Signup Banner, FAQ, Document Library, Life Cycle, Who's Listening

    We love:

    1. Quality of project setup: As we have come to expect from the City of Nedlands, this is another high quality project. It ticks a lot of boxes and there are no gaps. What we are looking for are dead links, empty widgets and the like. None of this can be found in this project, which is testament to the attention to detail and the thorough process the city has established to ensure a high quality of all projects.

    2. Use of Quick Poll: The Quick Poll is rarely the 'hero tool' of consultations, but often used as a secondary tool to capture quick feedback. In this case, the Quick Poll is in the heart of the consultation and allows the participant to get involved quickly and easily.

      If you publish a lot of projects, try using all tools at least once. This will give you a better understanding of their function, but also provides a bit of variety to your regular visitors.

    3. Mix of tools: The project was designed to engage the participant in the decision making, giving them the opportunity to contact the project team and to be kept up to date with the progress. The mix of tools chosen to achieve these goals is ideal. The Quick Poll and Guestbook ask for feedback on the proposed designs, the Q&A tool offers transparency and make the team approachable (see point 5 below) and the News Feed is there to keep the community informed about the progress.

    4. Key document availability: The project description features images of the four proposed designs and, being in the middle of the screen, this grabs the visitors attention straight away. The document library also features each design as a high quality file download. It's crucial for consultations around draft documents or plans to make sure these documents are actually available, easy to find and the file size allow a quick download.

      Having said that, the documents in this case do have a downside. They are in different formats and different sizes. Ideally, all four design proposals should have been made available in the same format (in this case either jpeg or PDF) and in a similar file size. While one can download proposal two in a few seconds, proposal three is more than ten times bigger and hence takes much longer to open.

    5. Approachable team: Great to the see that the City of Nedlands have gone to length to ensure that the team behind this consultation can be contacted. There is a Q&A tool which allows participants to ask a question and the project officer is introduced via the Who's Listening widget with a friendly image.

    For further consideration:

    1. Project title: The project title is rather dry and long. While it perfectly outlines what this project is about, we like to see shorter titles (certainly should fit on one line) that ideally are also framed as a call to action. The tools have been renamed and include calls to action, which makes the lack of a call to action in the title a little bit of a surprise.

    2. Links to other projects: An opportunity has been missed here to link to other live consultations. In particular since there is at least one other project published with a similar topic ("All abilities play space"). This should not be underestimated. Getting people to your site is half the job done. Once they are there, make sure it is easy for them to move around and find other opportunities to get involved.

    OVERALL: We have come to expect excellent consultation from the City of Nedlands. This project was chosen as a staff pick because it involves participants on multiple levels, informs them about the progress of the consultation so far and promotes transparency and personal contact. It is the perfect mix for a consultation about a playground upgrade.

    NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 30 August 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.

  • EHQ Staff Pick: WorkSafe Victoria, Australia

    7 months ago
    Worksafe

    Part of the fun working with EngagementHQ is to see the variety of projects and sites published every week. In the last two weeks alone we have witnessed Australia Post launch another round of consultations, VicRoads re-imagine their look and feel by moving to our Torquay template and then there was Bathurst, another iconic Australian council getting started with EHQ (we are way past 100 councils by now!).

    The diversity of projects across all our site is quite amazing and this week's staff pick proves that point. WorkSafe Victoria launched their Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Reform consultation and... Continue reading

    Part of the fun working with EngagementHQ is to see the variety of projects and sites published every week. In the last two weeks alone we have witnessed Australia Post launch another round of consultations, VicRoads re-imagine their look and feel by moving to our Torquay template and then there was Bathurst, another iconic Australian council getting started with EHQ (we are way past 100 councils by now!).

    The diversity of projects across all our site is quite amazing and this week's staff pick proves that point. WorkSafe Victoria launched their Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Reform consultation and while most of us know little about OHS regulations - although we hopefully all appreciate its importance - we should take a closer look at this project page because it ticks a lot of boxes that make a project great and therefore appear on our staff pick radar.

    Client: WorkSafe Victoria

    Template: Torquay, bypassing the hompage.

    Project: OHS Regulation Reform

    Publish Date: 18 July 2016

    Topic: Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations from 2007 will expire in June 2017. WorkSafe Victoria is now seeking feedback on the existing rules to draft new regulations.

    Tools: News Feed, Survey

    Widgets: Document Library, 2x Custom Widget, FAQ, Life Cycle

    We love:

    1. Thoroughness: Overall, there is nothing missing in this consultation and the page ticks ticks all the boxes that need to be ticked for a consultation around this type of topic.

    2. Document Library: The term 'library' is actually fitting in this case. It appears that all key documents have been uploaded to the site and are available in accessible format (PDF) and a reasonable size. If you are consulting around documents or draft documents, make sure that they can be found easily and are small enough to be downloaded quickly. Just like WorkSafe Victoria have done here.

    3. Custom widget: WorkSafe are holding a range of information sessions for which tickets can be ordered via Eventbrite. The custom widget in this project lists all information sessions with links to Eventbrite. It's a simple and effective use of the custom widget.

    4. Project description and News Feed: The project description is kept short and precise, which is important in any project. The team then opted to use News Feed to outline the details of how to make a submission and help participants navigate around the page. Usually, we find this kind of detail in the project description, the downside of that is that it can make the description unnecessarily long and move the tool tab too far down the page. Using a news article instead is a clever way to keep the description short.

    5. Closing the loop: Not in action yet, but notice the 'Submissions Received' link in the header. This is linking to a static page on which the team will post submissions. This 'closing of the loop' approach is excellent practice and something we encourage everyone to do. Doing it via a static page is a good idea.

    6. Promotion: The overall promotion to drive traffic to this site has been great and the team has seen up to 200 visits per day. A great start to a hopefully fruitful consultation.

    For further consideration:

    1. Contact us form / Q&A tool: The second custom widget, which you can see at the bottom of the right hand column, outlines contact information. We usually recommend to ensure that all communication and engagement happens on the site. This could have been achieved by using a contact us form through the survey tool, or by enabling the Q&A tool. In both cases the visitor could have engaged with the team without having to move away form the page and sending an email.

    2. Forum: Although the nature of the consultation requires submission to be made via a form, having a forum published could have allowed visitors to discuss their experience with the current regulations in an open space, therefore adding another layer of engagement to the project.

    OVERALL: When we look for staff picks we look for projects that are set up fittingly to the topic of consultation. If the topic, like the one at hand, is fairly technical, and dare we say 'dry', then there is nothing wrong with keeping the project page in a similar tone. WorkSafe Victoria have done just that and in the process created a comprehensive and almost flawless project page. We are looking forward to more consultations from the team.

    NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 27 July 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.