Using multiple tools to address engagement-specific purposes is something, Griffiths said, that might have been creating the pain points were facing in their projects. While the OpenCities platform housed house digital engagement projects, which were featured on the council’s front page, Griffiths wanted to leverage the Council’s EngagementHQ without losing existing cross-searching and other functionalities that were already in place.
The new OpenCities x EngagementHQ Connector was the answer to Griffith’s plans for Cessnocks digital engagement. Aimed at helping residents discover engagement products within OpenCities websites, this tool syncs EngagementHQ projects with tagged recommendations in OpenCities to help increase the discoverability of projects that might not be as easily found by interested users, helping drive involvement and engagement with council projects all while maintaining a consistent digital experience.
Whereas previously awareness of projects might have been a button on the lower corner of the website, now Griffiths was able to give those projects what he called a “pride of place, right in the middle” in a seamless way that didn’t change the previous user experience.
The benefits of a common interface went beyond the user experience, according to Griffiths, saving time for staff creating projects. “I did a few setups with the previous platform, and the setup of the actual engagement page with the Connector is half the time because it’s all housed in EngagementHQ really nicely,” he said. “Setting it up on the website works really well because the connector is really easy to understand and fairly similar to OpenCities setup that we were doing previously.”