Accessible information and consultation

How can you be sure that the information you provide is appropriate and accessible? Working with people who represent your intended audience is fundamental to the success of any project. Going ahead with an information project without meaningful input from your intended audience is an easy way to waste resources on assumed priorities that don't match what people most need, or missing some essential ingredients in the design.

Consulting with your intended audience

Consultation needs to be:

Meaningful for both parties

It's important to design a process whereby you information from your group realistically informs your design decisions. Your group needs to feel their opinions are valued and this includes wherever possible keeping in touch after the consultation so they know what happened as a result of their input. A more meaningful dialogue will happen if the group gains an understanding of the possibilities and limitations inherent in creating and disseminating information.

Timely

You will get the most from the consultation if you begin listening to your audience at the very start of a project. This is when you have most opportunity to take their feedback on board. Input from your group will then progress throughout the project to test and respond to revisions. Finally, it is important to keep your group up to date with how the finalised work turned out, and when you are likely to want a revision in the future.

Fun

Most people go outdoors to enjoy themselves. Many people also find traditional business environments such as boardrooms intimidating. Try to make your engagement processes fun and non-threatening so that your group feel encouraged to give their opinions. Pick somewhere familiar and pleasant, preferably on the actual site in question. Make sure there is comfortable seating, shelter, toilets, warmth, and refreshments available.