Release notes: Citizen Space v3

This is a big release announcement for us! We're delighted to say that Citizen Space v3 is here (2016). This is a major update: v3 is a complete visual overhaul of the public interface, along with a host of usability and accessibility tweaks – all designed to make it as easy as possible for the maximum number of people to get involved in the decisions that affect them.

The backstory

With 100+ customers, 5,000+ admin users
 and 10,000+ consultations, we've accrued lots of insight into what it’s like to use Citizen Space.

Our last major update was about behind-the-scenes improvements for admin users. This time, we focused on the ‘front-end’ – the part your participants see. We know that good design overlaps with participation rate and user experience, so it was time to turn Citizen Space from a functional product into a beautiful one. The result is v3.

The changes

If you're at all familiar with Citizen Space v2, you'll immediately notice the differences when looking at a v3 site. There's a lot of them, though, so here's a little introduction to the major changes:

A visual overhaul

The most immediate thing you’ll notice about Citizen Space v3 is that it looks totally different. This new skin not only makes Citizen Space more modern and aesthetically-pleasing; it’s also built to be even easier to use on phones and tablets.

Try resizing your browser window, or visiting the demo site from a mobile device. You’ll see that all the content rearranges dynamically so that it remains incredibly easy to read, navigate and interact with.

There's richer use of imagery throughout the site, and we've picked a new typeface that's pleasing to the eye (this matters when the majority of the content on your consultations is text).

These changes aren't just to make it look cool – it's all about accessibility. From easy-to-read line lengths and spacing to mobile-friendliness – plus, of course, all the W3C guidelines – these design decisions make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to use Citizen Space.

More theming options

You also get a host of new ways to control what your Citizen Space looks like and to present engaging, attractive consultations.

Set a sitewide logo and wallpaper, for visual consistency across all your consultations.

Apply your brand colours across your whole Citizen Space site, so that it looks and feels like part of your organisation. 

There's also a whole range of per-survey theming options. For example, for each consultation, you can choose to use one or more logos or a unique banner or a simple block colour or the sitewide wallpaper. This means you can tailor the presentation of individual surveys – especially useful on projects with their own branding, or where you're working with a number of partner organisations.

Improved search, sort and filter

It's now super clear and easy for your participants or users to search for a specific consultation, including an advanced search with filters, and some quick, simple sort options. 

A whole new page

An About page for your Citizen Space instance! Fully editable, use it to provide loads of helpful background information for anyone who lands on your consultation site. 

Improved navigation

V3 sports some new features to help people find their way around the site quickly. We've made the survey title visible on each page, so your users don't forget where they are.

Useful info in the sidebar tells people how far through the survey they are, when it closes and other useful information, like relevant contact details.

Plus unmissable, customisable call to action buttons: 

Improved surveys

There are lots of other little tweaks in v3 that will make your surveys even better. The survey fields now have improved line lengths. And your images and other embedded media will resize fluidly with the browser window size, making sure everything's always easy to view.

Improved preview

Preview has got comprehensive. You can now preview every page of your consultation, including the 'response submitted' page, and a handy drop-down menu enables you to see what it'll look like when it's an open, closed or forthcoming consultation. You can also switch quickly between any page of your consultation using the preview drop-down menu. 

The future

We're really pleased with Citizen Space v3, and we think you will be too. We've made all these changes with the aim of increasing accessibility, minimising friction and maximising participation, making it easier for you to create engaging consultation.