The thinking work before you go on Citizen Space

Preparation is everything! We have outlined below what to consider and think about before building an activity in Citizen Space:

Know your objectives and why you are consulting or engaging

Before you login to Citizen Space to build an activity you should be able to articulate clearly the objective.

Can you answer the following:

“I am consulting/engaging with…… find out ……...... . That information will inform ……….. .”

Plan, draw and map it out

Structure your survey questions first. Map out the design of your questions, this will help you to establish the flow of your online survey. It can also be a useful visual aid to see the respondent's journey in order to ensure you make it as easy and straight forward as possible to submit a response.

An online survey in Citizen Space starts with adding pages. From here, you add questions and information to those pages. Your online surveys in Citizen Space will always have pages and questions but the way you structure your respondent journey can differ. Read more about the survey structures available in Citizen Space:

The aim is to create a seamless experience from start to finish, allowing all respondents to provide informed responses that can help to effect change and improve decision making. 

Understand analysis - work backwards

It starts and ends with the data so ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What exactly are we trying to figure out?
  • Why do we need to know?
  • What do we hope to do with this data when we’re done?
  • Do we need to contact respondents? - Then ask for their contact details!
  • Do we need to cross tabulate responses by a particular characteristic or piece of information? - For example, do we want to be able to cross compare the data for each question with the areas people have said they live in? If you do, you’ll need to make sure you ask a quantitative question asking for the area people live in!
  • Do we need to publish responses? Make sure you ask a consent question!

Are you asking a question where the possible answers are yes/no or agree/disagree? - Use a radio buttons or dropdown component. If you want to collect further reasons and thoughts, you can add a text box for explanatory comments. See how to add more than one answer component.

Simply put, if you need a piece of data you need to ask the question.

Top tip - It's a good idea to have the analysts involved in the initial survey design.

The respondent - make it as easy as possible

Appreciate their time is valuable, make it an easy and smooth process for them to contribute.

Ensure your overview page text explains why contributing is of benefit to them and what is expected of them.

Complete the survey yourself. How did you find it? How long did it take? Did it make sense? Was it easy?

Make sure you Preview! Preview! Preview! Before going live. 

The audience - who are they? 

Know your audience and design with them in mind.

The questions - types, style, wording.

Question quality is key to getting usable and valid data, read our article on question design guidelines

Every question should be interpreted the same way by your respondents regardless of their background, education or digital literacy.

Your team - communication and collaboration

If a different team or colleague is analysing the data be sure to get their input at the question design phase.

Are there any other currently live activities targeting the same stakeholder group? Stakeholder fatigue is a real thing!

Once you have built the activity:

Ask your colleagues to test your activity as a respondent:

  • Did they encounter any problems?
  • Did the language make sense?

If you have used skip logic, were they able to reach the submit page? (Yes, this is a thing!) So catch mistakes while the activity is still in draft mode.

Utilise the Share Preview link function to share your draft activity, they do not need to be a user of Citizen Space. Read more about how to share preview links.

Promotion - how will people know about it?

If you build it, they still won't come unless you tell them about it! Don’t forget to use the appropriate channels to promote the activity to your target audience:

  • What are your organisation's social media avenues? 
  • Can they reach your target audience?
  • Are there any mailing lists or newsletters that you can use to get the word out?
  • Is this an internal survey that you can promote on the intranet?
  • Is there a partner or relevant organisation that can help promote your activity?

Top tip - While you are in the planning stages check out the Citizen Space Aggregator. This pulls together public activities from our customers around the world and can provide you with ideas and inspiration.