The City of Nedlands project is a great example of an effective ‘informational’ site
Client: City of Nedlands, Western Australia
Project: Pathway Connection – Whitney Crescent and Mt Claremont Community Centre
Publish Date: 09 May 2016
Topic: A limestone-coloured concrete pathway is being built to connect a community centre to a park. The consultation is informing the community about the work being done and allows community members to ask questions and provide feedback.
Tools: Newsfeed, Form, Q&A
Widgets: Registration Banner, Key Dates, Document Library, Who’s Listening
What we love
1. The council’s enthusiasm
Organisational buy-in can be a struggle for many EngagementHQ site administrators. Whilst they can see the possibilities of engaging communities online via EHQ, it often takes a lot of time and effort to convince a wider range of people in the organisation.
Nedlands City Council took this on board and committed to using EHQ to its full potential as the benefits were well communicated internally and embraced from the top down.
2. The breadth of engagement
When there is organisational buy-in, the breadth of engagement possible naturally increases. The team at the City of Nedlands have been incredibly busy and published one project per week on average since they came on board at the start of 2016. Some projects are high profile with a lot of engagement, like the Local Planning Strategy consultation (with outstanding engaged numbers), others are low key, like the current example.
3. Great use of tools as an ‘informing project’
Our clients are publishing many more sites, which is a trend witnessed across all EHQ sites. Many organisations now use EHQ to not only to engage with the community but also to inform community members about current projects and ongoing initiatives. This project is a great example of this, one of a number of informational projects by the City of Nedlands.
The benefit of publishing these type of ‘informing’ projects is that a client’s EHQ site becomes a real community hub where people can find out what council is doing and how it affects them. This project informs, but also allows participants to provide feedback or ask questions, which epitomises the City of Nedlands’ dedication to include community input in council’s work.
So what makes it a great ‘informing ‘site?
1. The consistency
The City of Nedlands have clear publishing guidelines, which is why all their published projects look and feel fantastic. The high quality of all of the City of Nedlands’ projects can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the site administrator.
2. The setup
The City of Nedlands’ project set up across all projects is almost impeccable. All their projects have images and a Key Dates, Document Library and Who’s Listening widget. In most cases, the team also enables the Q&A tool to give the community an opportunity to ask questions.
The project descriptions are mostly short and concise, and all projects have a clear call-to-action and also include links to guide the visitor through the project. This is consistent across all projects and hence delivers familiarity to the visitor.
Additional suggestions to add even more value to this site
1. Better image use overall
Some of the images are a bit too big in terms of file size and can load slowly for visitors on slower internet connections. As a rule of thumbs, images should never exceed 1MB and smaller is better (but not too small!).
2. Better image use in the ‘Who’s Listening’ widget
We like to see the Who’s Listening widget in use, but it should contain an image of the team member who is ‘listening’. If the team member does not feel comfortable showing their face, include a logo like the City of Sydney or use colourful imagery like Wingecarribee.
The more projects you publish, the more value you get out of EngagementHQ. This is particularly true for regularly publishing high-quality projects like the City of Nedlands. Whilst this staff pick project may not break visitation records it is still important that it is well-presented so the community can consistently see the Council is being transparent about its actions. This is the value of informative projects.
NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 16 May 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.