When speaking of digital participation in the planning process, you’re essentially competing against other things that your potential respondent would rather be doing, such as liking things on Facebook or pinning latest trends on Pinterest. You obviously want the respondent to spend some time on your project providing useful insights for your work.
There are a few things you can do to make the respondents work more enjoyable and your work easier as result. Let me list a few of them:
Use your own colors, images, and icons to customize the questionnaire. You can add a lot of visual swoon to your survey just by adding some of your own visual materials. These visuals can include logos, project visuals, specific colors for your draw-buttons, headings, and other questionnaire elements. Maptionnaire allows you to add small informative icons to the pins you ask people to put on the map. It is worth inspecting the ever-growing selection of different icons available!
Add other visual elements that make the questionnaire look nicer
Adding small pictograms or figures to your multiple selection questions can make help respondents answer the questions better. Besides, they can help with necessary clarifications to different answer options.
You can also hide the questionnaire heading on the front page and replace it with an image containing the questionnaire name and other cool graphical elements, as has been done in a project discussing the repurposing of an old mental hospital area in Dikemark, Norway from the picture below.
Add other visual elements that help the respondent. Adding map overlays that portray the current or future situation at your survey location can also help a whole deal. Below is an example using customized Leaflet-layers on top of the regular base map, but also Geotiffs and Shapefiles work great for this.
Add a storyline and guide your respondent through the survey. You can dictate the location of the map page by page, or guide the map location based on user responses. Walking the respondents through the project area and drawing their attention to one detail at a time can be a great way of helping the respondent concentrate in one theme at a time.
Besides these main points, there is plenty you can do to make the participatory planning process a better experience for the respondents. Some of our partners give prices for people who fill out the questionnaires in different forms, such as gifts for example. Those ideas are a blog post for another day.
Tell us in the comments section below which strategy you use. Meanwhile, create an account with Maptionnaire and invite people to be part of your planning process.