Some fantastic stories of digital use across the Scottish third sector. Read on to be inspired.
Important: Opinions expressed by Digital Pioneer interviewees are their own and don’t represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Antonia Lee-Bapty, Director of Operations at Euan’s Guide tells us more…
Antonia: Euan’s Guide is the disabled access review website used by disabled people, their families and friends to review, share and discover accessible places online. We are based in Edinburgh, but reviewers who use the site are worldwide.
Antonia: Euan’s Guide has been online for three years, and we have been using digital to provide this service as well as run the charity behind the scenes.
From a reviewer’s point of view, we have created an accessible website which allows disabled people to award star ratings to all kinds of places, including cinemas, hotels, shops and train stations.
Ratings are awarded for accessibility, and people can rate (out of five) how they found different elements of their visit, including parking, toilets, staff and overall disabled access.
We also use social media platforms and email marketing to spread the word about disabled access reviews and to inspire people to get involved. Twitter and Facebook are our two biggest platforms where we like to engage with audiences, share reviews and content.
Behind the scenes, we have a range of tools that help us as a charity to achieve our work. We like to use apps such as Slack to communicate internally, and content management tools such as Asana which have been incredibly useful for planning. Both of these apps are colourful and fun to use!
Another fantastic app we use is called Toggl, and this helps us to plan projects by tracking how long we spend on event-planning, website testing and more.
Antonia: In November 2016, we launched points, levels and badges for reviewers on Euan’s Guide. This so-called ‘gamification’ has been an exciting new development, and one which will add a new element to disabled access reviews. More than anything, we think it will be great fun!
Antonia: One of our ongoing campaigns is general awareness and to increase the number of people writing disabled access reviews on Euan’s Guide. We wanted to add something new that would encourage people to start their first review, or continue reviewing and adding to their profiles. The badges have been created in a way that offers guidance to reviewers, by showing what is yet to be unlocked; and reviewers who are new to Euan’s Guide may have a better understanding of where to begin and where to go next. This includes prompts such as adding photos to reviews (which are incredibly helpful to people deciding whether or not to visit somewhere), reviewing in different locations (to dispel the idea that reviews are UK only), or to interact with other users by agreeing with reviews and commenting.
We also created special badges to increase engagement with other aspects of our charity that are seen less often. This includes inviting people to donate to our charity, volunteer with us or take part in Disabled Access Day. We won’t spoil all the surprises!
Antonia: We wanted to create an air of mystery about the new features, and we kept it under wraps until an official launch at our 3rd birthday! Following on from this, we shared content which introduced the new features including the new Euan’s Guide profiles where badges are displayed.
Planning the new points, levels and badges was a fun but lengthy process – we wanted to get it right! We also had to make sure they looked the part, and we worked with a fantastic design team throughout the process. When we had the ideas in place, we worked with our website development team to test the new features rigorously before release.
Antonia: Everybody on the Euan’s Guide team was introduced to the new concept and consulted for ideas, as we all have different interactions with reviewers. We also spoke to some of our regular reviewers for feedback and input, some of whom helped to test the new features before release! When everything was agreed upon, we worked with our web developer team and badge designers to turn the ideas into reality.
Antonia: This new feature has impacted all of our reviewers, but it has also given us more scope to be creative with how we inspire people to review. The release has added a new dimension to reviewing which has made the activity more fun and engaging.
We saw a spike in traffic to our website from social media around the time of the launch. The new badges are colourful and vibrant, so they performed well on Facebook and Twitter as people began customising their new profiles.
Antonia: Time was a big barrier. We are a fairly small team with lots of projects going on at once, so we had to manage our time and resources carefully throughout this digital change. That’s where the apps mentioned earlier come into play! We could record the time spent on the project, bounce ideas across team members and not lose track of where we were.
One of the biggest takeaways is that you have to be prepared for the unexpected! During the testing phase, some discoveries meant that the release date would need to be shifted back a little, and this happened more than once. Luckily we were prepared for this and we allowed more time than we thought necessary to complete the project by our launch date.
Antonia: Start by coming up with ideas as if you have no restrictions – the bigger the ideas the better! These can unlock new ideas and considerations you might not have thought about otherwise. Afterwards, you can begin categorising the ideas and placeholding suggestions which might not be achievable at this time. You’ll then have a bank of ideas to use at a later date!
Antonia: As we see how the current points, levels and badges unfold, we will begin planning our next range of unlockables for the future.
Antonia: Our reviewers! Many people who use Euan’s Guide are using innovative digital technology to access our site, and we want to make sure our website remains accessible to them. This means we have to keep up with the latest developments in access technology, and this is a consideration at all stages of our digital growth (including designing our badges!).
Thanks to Antonia from the Euan’s Guide Team for sharing how they’re using digital in the third sector. We hope you’re feeling digitally inspired after reading it. Don’t forget to share it with your networks to keep the inspiration flowing and tell us what you think @digiscot using #digiscotpioneers.
If you’d like to help spread some more digital inspiration across the third sector then get in touch with us @digiscot and [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you and share it with our networks!