We're making some big changes to how community members use Polco.
Since initially launching Polco almost 4 years ago, we have made only minor updates to the ways respondents interact with surveys and polls. Part of this has been to create familiarity with the platform, hopefully inviting more people to return over time and engage on critical topics to their communities. Another reason has been our focus on providing more features to our customers, building out more poll and survey capabilities, and making the information gathered easier to use and understand.
With these objectives in mind, and with the release of a large update to the administrator experience last fall, it came time for us to build a new experience for respondents - the residents, community members, and others who provide input on Polco. Our engineering and user research teams have been hard at work over the last few months and we're excited to release a major update this month (June 2020).
In addition to a refreshed visual design that is both more accessible and more engaging, we made some foundational changes that we hope will accomplish our chief objectives in a number of ways:
- First, this update will provide an overall better experience for respondents, and make it easier for them to find surveys and polls that matter to them. Even before creating an account, each respondent will have access to a feed based on an estimated zip code, where they are able to see all content near them. We will still do things like confirm their individual zip code and differentiate between communities that share a zip, but as more users find the platform, it becomes important for us to lower barriers to engagement by making it easier for everyone to understand what Polco is and see what their local leaders are posting.
- We know the requirement to create an account has been a point of friction in some communities so we are relaxing that requirement in several cases. Moving forward, we'll ask respondents for information and attempt to verify them as a member of your community in more ways than through account creation - so you will still receive the verified and citable data you're used to, but we hope this more flexible approach will also encourage more participation on a broad range of issues. While we will still have our account-based response option as the default, which will be best for the most accurate verified data, there will be new options like "self reported data" and "invite list" verification that will instill the same confidence that each respondent is only answering once, while removing some of the stickier barriers like creating a password or logging in with social media.
- Finally, the new experience will open opportunities to new ways to engage on Polco. We have heard from a number of communities a desire to implement a live version of Polco, during council meetings for example, which this new platform will help make a more seamless experience. We also have, in conjunction to a recent administrative update to customize your verification area, the ability become smarter about which geographies see questions, or how you view breakdowns for different parts of your community.