Can you believe we’re already halfway through the year? As the saying goes – time flies when you’re having fun! And in CitizenLab’s case, plenty of developments have kept time flying: we grew rapidly with the addition of 20 new team members and released 63 updates & upgrades across our platform.
In those six months, we also re-evaluated our platform and created an ambitious product strategy grounded in feedback from our clients and platform participants to get closer to our mission of further improving the quality of public decision-making by making it more inclusive, participatory, and responsive.
What we have done so far to move closer to our mission
Empower responsive decision-making through actionable reporting systems
One goal we set for this year was to provide more actionable insights and efficient analysis for responsive decision-making for governments. Our recent beta launch of the Community Representation Dashboard is enabling this.
Example of a city using Representation Dashboard to understand the current inclusivity of the platform
This dashboard provides cities with an overview of the demographic representation of participants there compared to the overall community’s population. Showing how representative a platform’s projects are is a game-changer for the community engagement sector as a whole, as we are one of the first platforms to highlight inclusivity in the platform’s reporting. Cities can now create more equitable outreach programs and make more participatory decisions that build trust with their community.
Beyond this unique solution, we have further developed our Insights tool, providing more ways for cities to do hassle-free, inclusive and intuitive processing of thousands of qualitative inputs and feedback they gather from their communities.
Foster higher quality projects through better engagement tools
Our engagement tools are built so community members can intuitively provide feedback and cities can manage the feedback they receive on our user-friendly back-end. Even so, we continuously challenge ourselves to make this process easier – yet still more meaningful – for everyone involved.
Recently, we launched our Content Builder, which helps cities effortlessly customise a project’s structure with flexible layouts, making the project more interactive. This solution helps cities tell their stories more informatively and engagingly using data visualisation tools and third-party apps.
Example of a city using Content Builder to provide an interactive information session
Moreover, we beta launched custom options on our Input form so that cities can now better guide their residents and stakeholders through their engagement process with guided questions, tips, or supplementary questions that can help participants better understand nuances in the collaborative projects. This addition makes our engagement tool more powerful than ever.
Enable flexible platforms to meet the unique needs
We started the year by releasing a customizable navigation system – enabling cities to add more custom pages to their navigation bar and ensuring participants could filter projects based on their interests or geographical areas. Using this solution, cities using CitizenLab’s platform can make their projects more easily accessible, organize them in a way that makes sense to their community, and provide a more coherent digital experience across their different platforms.
Speaking of user-friendly features, on top of these structural and functional upgrades, we also released three homepage templates to create more options for visually engaging experiences on the platforms. Cities can personalize their homepage with a hero image, custom colors, buttons, and icons to match the community’s identity. After all, familiarity gains trust and trust can enable more participation.
Example of a city leveraging the new Homepage format with a CTA button to register
What’s next for CitizenLab’s digital community engagement platform
Apart from these incredible new releases over the past 6 months, we also continued to improve our core features. We significantly enhanced the platform’s user experience, making it more inclusive, accessible, and readable by visitors and screen-readers. We are also improving our Information Security Management System (ISMS) following ISO 27001 guidelines and in the certification process.
Our mission to improve governance is as critical as ever, so we’re committed to accelerating how we provide solutions for governments to connect with and engage their communities. We will release more solutions in the next half of this year – stay tuned for those!