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EHQ Christmas Staff Pick: Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Australia
EHQ Christmas Staff Pick: Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Australia
Nathan Connors avatar
Written by Nathan Connors
Updated over a week ago

Over the festive season we usually see engagement on EHQ sites tailing off. While some consultations come to a temporary standstill, not all engagement needs to slow down. The Shire of Augusta Margaret River in Western Australia have found a unique way to engage two groups of stakeholders in the same project, with the spirit of Christmas at the core.

Client: Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Australia

Template: Torquay

Publish Date: 30 November 2016

Topic: The Shire is encouraging businesses to decorate their shopfronts and the community to vote on the favourite decoration. Both groups go into separate draws for a prize for their participation.

Tools: Story, Survey

Widgets: SignUp Banner, Photo, Key Dates, Lifecycle

We love:

  1. Idea: What a great idea to engage the community in multiple ways. Businesses are encouraged to decorate their shopfront to get the town into the Christmas spirit. The wider community is encouraged to get out and about to see the business and vote on their favourite decoration.

    In particular around Christmas, when many other consultations come to a standstill, the team at the Shire have found a way to keep people engaged and to continue to build their database.

  2. Engaging two stakeholder groups at once: Not often do we see projects where multiple groups of stakeholders are engaged in such a coherent way. There are tangible incentives for both business and the wider community to participate, but the most important part of this project is that it aims to not only build the relationship between the community and the Shire (and their EHQ), but to build a strong relationship between local businesses and the community.

  3. Combination of tools: The story telling tool remains our most underused tool and naturally we get very excited when we see it enabled. The use case here is perfect as it allows people to upload images easily, but also tell a bit of a story and add a personal touch to accompany shopfront images.

    The second tool in this project is the survey tool used with a simple question to allow the community to vote on their favourite decoration.

  4. Overall breadth of engagement: Looking beyond this project, it is worthwhile mentioning that the Shire of Augusta Margaret River have been engaging on more than 40+ projects this year. This is an astonishing number, in particular given that the site was only launched in the second quarter of 2017. The majority of the projects have been real winners too, with good engagement rates and plenty of feedback received.

For further consideration:

  1. FAQ widget: The terms of the competition are outlined in an image via the photo gallery. The better option would have been to provide the same information also as plain text, for example via an FAQ widget. Text in general, and in particular big amounts of text, like we see in this example, are problematic for people who rely on screenreaders to help them navigate the site. The information conveyed via the photo would most likely be lost on them.

  2. Related Projects widget: It would have been nice to see the Related Projects widget included in this consultation. There has been a good amount of traffic on this project page and it would have been worthwhile to promote other projects that way and capitalise on the good traffic.

OVERALL: Great timely engagement by the team at the Shire. Keeping engagement and site traffic up over the festive season can be a real challenge as interest often tails off over the holiday period. Coming up with a project like this, which even targets more than one group of stakeholders, is great testament to the enthusiasm and drive from the Shire. This EHQ should be on everyone's radar in 2017.

NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 21 December 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.

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