Community consultation update

New Landcare website for Victoria

Victorian Landcare Program (VLP) staff have been working hard with Thick (our website development partner) to develop a new website for the Victorian Landcare community. It’s been a comprehensive and fast-paced process.

Since the project began in June, Thick staff have spoken in-depth with over 30 landowners/farmers, group/network members, volunteers and Landcare facilitators. A further 22 participants from key stakeholder groups have also been consulted.

In addition, Thick have employed a number of user testing techniques to gain valuable feedback as the project moves to the website development stage.

Consulting the community — a crucial project objective

With such a large community, it was always going to be a challenge — there are around 60,000 Landcare group members across the state. After receiving a wide range of feedback, Thick are confident that we have received a representative view across the Victorian Landcare community.

To consult and engage with the Landcare community, Thick staff have driven 1,163 kilometres, visited 15 regional Victorian towns, held over 30 in-depth one-on-one interviews with group members, Landcare facilitators, and stakeholders (roughly 1–2 hours each).

From Stawell to Yackandandah, Romsey to Shepparton, Mornington to Mitta Mitta, we’ve covered a lot of ground to understand as many perspectives as possible.

How did we choose people to be consulted?

With Thick, we identified the key Landcare audiences who would be consulted, and then approached local Landcare facilitators, and Regional Landcare Coordinators (RLCs) who suggested a diverse selection of appropriate people to contact in their local areas.

Key stakeholders also put forward representatives of their own groups to be consulted through the engagement process.

Speaking to such a diverse number of people from the Landcare community has provided Thick with a three dimensional understanding of the different ways people communicate within, across, and outside of the community. By approaching Landcare facilitators, RLCs and stakeholders, we received a fantastic representative sample that provides a detailed picture of the connections and interdependencies that occur at all levels of the Landcare community.

From Thick’s extensive experience working with multiple groups, they know that traditional interviewing only gives one part of the picture. Thick wanted to make sure they weren’t just asking questions and gathering traditional feedback. That’s why they have used a range of techniques to gather different forms of feedback over the course of the engagement process, rather than only at the beginning.

Other types of consultation

By not only interviewing, but testing and refining the solutions, Thick have been able to create a robust website solution based on the real needs of users: the entire Landcare community. Other than interviewing, they have conducted user testing and a website survey to gather feedback.

1. User testing

Early in the design process, Thick developed simple ‘prototypes’ of the design solution — simple black and white versions of the website. These prototypes were really useful to gather feedback from community members on what is or isn’t working.

The tests were observed by a professional designer with informative and positive feedback received from the community.

2. Website survey to test navigation concepts

A survey was used to test the website’s navigation system. A total of 121 Landcare members who volunteered to participate in the survey were given a list of tasks to complete using the navigation system. If they could successfully find the information required, the task was a success.

The 121 Landcare members who took part in the survey had a success rate of 73%, which is a really strong result for a survey and a good sign we are on the right track. Information from the failed tasks were then used to make changes to the navigation system.

Next steps?

In terms of next steps, the project is in the final ‘sprint’ to launch the website in late September. The VLP is now working with Thick to research and refine the optimal functionalities for the website (within the project scope).

With this in mind, the valued aspects of the current Landcare Gateway will be strengthened, such as access to resources, projects, events, news, and group pages. Viewing, editing and searching for content on the new website will be much easier and simpler.

If you have any further queries, you can contact the VLP team by emailing: landcare@delwp.vic.gov.au

Didn’t read our original community message? Read our project kick-off message here.

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