Site: Public Transport Victoria
Project: Regional Network Development Plan
Publish Date: 30 June 2015
Topic: Public Transport
Tools: Forum, Surveys & Forms
Widgets: Sign up Banner, Key Dates, Quick Poll, FAQ
What we like:
Forum structure: This project takes into consideration the public transport needs of people in various regions in Victoria. There is one discussion per location and this approach is working. Interestingly, the top discussion had the most views and comments. It might be worthwhile moving around the discussion topics after a few weeks to see if it changes the dynamics of the discussions.
Use of Surveys & Forms tools: Great simple use of our most popular tool. There is a simple survey to capture travel needs along with a RSVP form which allows people to register for related workshops. Most importantly, both surveys are pinned, which gives them their own tabs.
Key Dates: Details about the workshops are outlined in the key dates widget. What we like about this is rather than giving each workshop its own date, the key dates description is used for all workshop details. Together with the RSVP form, this works well. Though links from one to the other could have been used as well.
Project description: There are three things we like about the project description. It is short and to the point, there are links to the related tools and the end date of the consultation is clearly outlined. The only thing missing is a call to action in the project title.
Life Cycle widget: Good use of the Life Cycle widget to clearly outline the consultation stages. This works because the project team wanted to have the Key Dates widget focus solely on the community workshops, rather than the consultation dates. Therefore, using both widgets is worthwhile. Also, note how only the current stage appears in the site to not overwhelm the viewer. This kept the widget column short.
For further consideration:
Lack of imagery and colour: This project would benefit from a touch of colour and, more importantly, imagery. Neither the banner nor the widgets have any pictures and we often find that images, in particular if they show faces, enhance the browsing experience.
Call to action: As mentioned, a clear call to action is necessary to get visitors to your site engaging with the content. Whilst the project description does call on visitors to join the discussion and take part in the survey, the message remains slightly hidden. It would be better if both the project title and the tool tabs could be calls to action as well.
OVERALL: You are excused for thinking this site lacks imagery and colour, but at the end of the day, the project produces great results. This means that it has generated meaningful engagement with PTV stakeholders with over 100 forum comments within a few days of launch. So congratulations to Public Transport Victoria on your fantastic engagement.
NOTE: The above comments are based on a visit to the site on 06 July 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.