Bayside City Council site is a great example of displaying accessible plans

Melbourne’s Bayside City Council’s latest consultation has quickly become a great example of highly engaged participation. The Council was aware that this project – the redevelopment of a local park – would incite high public interest. To cater to the diversity of the expected audience, they utilised EngagementHQ’s visual capability to display accessible and easy to read plans, while keeping the site design simple and clear. Take a look below at our favourite features of this site.

Site: Your Say Bayside

Project: Elsternwick Park Master Plan

Publish Date: 07 September 2015

Topic: Planning

Tools: Forum, Quick Poll

Widgets: 2x Photo, FAQ, Key Dates, Who’s Listening

What we like:

Accessible Plans:

You may think this is a no-brainer, but we want to emphasize how simple displaying plan options can be. With just two clear photos, site visitors can understand the options available.

These plans are straightforward, the pictures open quickly and there are no distractions. Often we see (master) plans in a text-heavy format or too large to be uploaded as a regular photo, so they are included for download in the document library. In both cases, it is the participant that suffers, because they have to read too much text or download a large file to their devices, rather than just viewing the plan with one quick click.


Yes, the FAQs are very short in this project and could do with some more detail. But importantly, they answer all key questions. Such as: What are the options? How is the feedback used? What happened from here?

Generic FAQs are good, specific FAQs, as demonstrated in this project, are better.

Project description:

One of the most ‘straight to the point’ descriptions you will ever see. The context is clearly outlined and the two options available introduced though the description could do with a couple of related hyperlinks.

Who’s Listening:

We’ve previously suggested that the ‘Who’s Listening’ widget can also be used as a ‘Contact Us’ widget. Bayside did so, which provided plenty of advantages.

Namely, the project description isn’t unnecessarily long with contact information (often where this type of information goes). Additionally, using the ‘Who’s Listening’ widget means contact information is correctly formatted.

Forum Description:

This consultation is introduced well in the project description, and the first topic is also well explained. The pros and cons of both plan options are clearly outlined. You can tell people understand what’s at stake by the high amount of comments received in just a few days.

Quick Poll:

There is nothing remarkable about the Quick Poll in particular, but check out how many votes it received. 200+ votes and counting!

For further consideration:

Project Banner:

With the two development plans providing colour and imagery, it would’ve been worthwhile to design a catchy project specific banner.

Truncate Description:

Although we praised the project description above, the truncated description option, which would include a ‘continue reading’ link after 100 words, could’ve been a good option. Why? By limiting the writing space, everything below the description – read: the tools(!) – move up higher in the project layout. As the tools are the core elements of each project they need to be as visible as possible.


When we judge projects and select our Staff Picks, we go through over 100 projects published over the past fortnight and some stand out for their great display and/or engagement as was evident with this consultation. Even if you are not invested in this consultation, you know something was done right and the high degree of engagement is a testament to that. Congratulations to Bayside City Council in successfully managing this engaging consultation.

NOTE: The above is based on a visit to the site on 18 September 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project. 

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