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July 16, 2020 | Articles |

Digital Hubs and Online Surveys Encourage Public Feedback

by Mallory Baker

This is the second entry in a three-part series about strategies for successful virtual public engagement. Read the first part.

For Walker, accessibility, ease of use, and clarity of purpose are always top of mind in our public engagement efforts. We leverage the power of digital hubs and online surveys as effective and simple ways to share information, create community, and gather meaningful feedback.

Digital Hubs

The Case for Digital Hubs

Digital hubs are landing pages or websites for projects—best suited for municipal projects lasting six months or more. Digital hubs can serve as a “one stop shop” for your community to learn about the project scope and timeline, participate in ongoing engagement opportunities and learn about upcoming ways to provide input, do additional related research, and get a sense of who is working on the project and listening to their feedback.

The Keys to a Strong Digital Hub

  • An easy-to-remember URL, such as citynameparkingstudy.com
  • A simple design following industry guidelines for accessibility.
  • Use of analytical tools—assessing how many people access the site, how they are accessing it, and how they’re getting there, among other metrics.
  • Social media plug-ins, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, for real-time updates
  • Various levels of information—from basic infographics on project scope and timeline to in-depth discussion threads to links to related news and information—to cover viewers of various interest levels.
  • A “Who’s Listening” section with names and contact information for project managers.

Online Surveys

The Case for Online Surveys

While surveys are often best for quick “temperature gauging” to help shape more in-depth public and stakeholder engagement, they can play a much more important role in a fully digital engagement strategy. Surveys often yield far greater participation than any other form of online or in-person engagement, as they are easy and quick to complete, and shareable with an open link- so your community members can easily become your ready-made survey marketing team.

The Keys to a Strong Survey

  • A clearly-defined goal, with up to three key pieces of feedback you’d like to obtain from your participants.
  • Pieces of education along the way to help your participants become more informed respondents and improve the quality of your results.
  • A maximum completion time of five minutes.
  • A trial run with at least five people, preferably of varying ages, backgrounds, and abilities.
  • Liberal use of pictures and maps (including alternative text to make it accessible!) to orient participants.

This is the second entry in a three-part series. Look forward to the conclusion soon.

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