Fortnightly EHQ Staff Pick: City of Port Phillip
Nathan Connors avatar
Written by Nathan Connors
Updated over a week ago

If you are looking for an EngagementHQ that has new projects published regularly, City of of Port Phillip's EHQ is the site to check out. This consultation might be one of their best yet and is deservedly our staff pick for this fortnight.

Site: City of Port Phillip

Publish Date: 23 March 2015

Topic: Public Spaces

Tools: Forum

Widgets: SignUp Banner, 2x Custom, Photo Gallery, Key Dates, FAQ, Important Links, Life Cycle, Document Library

What we like:

  1. Vibrancy: This consultation is part of Port Phillip's 'vibrant villages' initiative and the set up fits right in. You will notice a very well chosen mix of colours and imagery that brings this project to live.

  2. Forum topic set up: Depending on the topic and nature of your consultation the number of discussions you want to have open simultaneously will vary. For this particular project we find that having four topics live is arguably the perfect amount. There is not too much to overwhelm the visitor, yet enough to have a balanced variety of focused conversations. We particularly like the use of both text and imagery to encourage comments.

  3. Forum questions: The questions are well worded and in most cases open ended. Questions that are either too complicated, too long or can be answered with YES/NO tend to receive less engagement overall.

  4. Project description: The description is clear and concise. No unnecessary noise and clear instructions on what this project is about and how the community can get involved. Providing a date when the consultation closes is very good practice; so is providing information on the next steps.

  5. Custom widgets:

  • Google Maps: Intuitive use of Google Maps embed. The markers on this map outline when and where the project team can be met on the streets.

  • Twitter: Although Twitter is used on many sites this stands out because the feed is specific to a hashtag and not the entire council's Twitter feed.

Combined use of Key Dates & Life Cycle: In many cases using both widgets is too much. However, here it works well. The Key Dates outline imminent dates and events whereas the Life Cycle shows the overall milestones of the entire consultation. Combining both in this way works great. In addition, the Life Cycle widget only shows one stage by default. This is important because with an expanded widget the entire right hand column is just that little bit too long.

For further consideration:

  1. Additional contact information: The project team provided alternative ways to get in touch with them via phone and email. While there is nothing wrong with this, we usually suggest to use a 'Contact Us' form to allow people to contact the team without having to go through emails. The added benefit of this would be that all contact made with the project team would be stored in the same place and make reporting easier.

  2. Keeping all tools in the same place: Observant site visitors will have noticed that the link to the survey directs to another software. This is not entirely uncommon across some EHQ sites, but we believe there is no need for that as our in-built survey tool does the job. We recommend using EHQ's survey tool because all data is stored in one place (and of course because we love our own tools). When data is collected in various places you will have to later match data across different applications. In addition the user experience will be more seamless for the visitor if all tools are in the same place and they are not directed outwards. Hence why we like a 'Contact Us' form too.

OVERALL: The use of imagery, bright colours in the banner and the custom widgets create a great user experience. Add some well worded discussion topics, some key documents in the library and you end up with a project that is just begging to be explored in detail. That is an outstanding achievement and a fantastic base to collect meaningful insight from the community.

NOTE: The above is based on a visit to the site on 27 March 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.

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