Monday, June 11, 2012

ReThinking ReThink London

Voting is time consuming, especially when voting for multiple images.



Don't get me wrong; I like the ReThink London concept. The problems I have encountered are in the details.

Take the ReThink London website. I would rate it only fair. Each time I visit the site, I come away with another thought for improvement. I've sent off an e-mail to the ReThink folk and we'll see what they say, if anything.

Show and Tell

So, what has bothered me? Let me tell you. Visitors are encouraged to submit photos to a Show and Tell page. All the images are displayed as part of one big mosaic. To see a small image large, click on it. It will grow a little and a coloured transparent overlay at the bottom of the image will appear. In the bottom right is the word 'view.' Click on 'view.' Finally, the image enlarges.

At this point, you can vote on the image or add a comment. This is a nice feature but it does not seem to be being used. My guess is burying this panel stops visitors from voting and/or commenting.

The only way I've found to return to the mosaic display is to use your browser's back button and start again. Voting and commenting is tedious and time consuming. I would suggest, at the very least, that the ReThink London team eliminate the in-between step. Let the images enlarge to the max with the first click.

Join the Conversation

ReThink London is trying to encourage dialogue. To that end the RT team has posted a Join the Conversation page encouraging visitors to comment on a couple of questions:

  • What do you like about London?
  • What would you change about London?

A quick glance at the numbers indicates pretty fair level of visitor involvement --- or do they? The first question has attracted 414 comments and the second one has attracted 622 comments. But click the comment link and you will discover that it may be only one person posting the bulk of the comments.

Does this verge on spam?

Five one line comments submitted by participant in a time spanning less than two minutes. Suspicious? I thought so, but I was wrong. This occurs over and over again with the longest run of one line comments posted in a brief length of time being 65. But there is an explanation.

Londoners are submitting comments on suggestion cards. Often these comments are only one line long. The ReThink London team take these cards, read them and input the comments. They do not have the right to attach the writer's name and that is why these long lines of suggestions are all signed 'participant.'

I suggest supplying a short explanation and then typing all the one line comments into the system one line after another. The way it is done now the first comments that are input are buried. Very few people will see them. It is difficult to see all the comments as they are spread over a number of pages.

Surely, it cannot be that hard to allow replying to a comment in a bullet-formatted list. Following is an example of what I am describing.

What I like about London:
  • Historic buildings downtown
  • Emerging artist community
  • River Valley Corridor Parkway
  • The older neighbourhoods - Woodfield, Wortley Village, Old East, Blackfriars
  • Lots for seniors to do
  • Easy commute to work
  • UWO
  • Meadowlily
  • Western Fair; London Nationals

This, of course, still does not encourage dialogue. Now, we need an easy way for people to converse, to discuss a suggestion. To work together to fine-tune an idea.


My idea here would be to have a couple of voting fields: One a thumbs up and the other a thumbs down. This encourages good ideas, ones that have a lot of support, to rise to the top. This also helps to drive bad ideas to the bottom. Ah, if all this was done we'd be enjoying something approaching a conversation.

That's it for now. I will bring my notebook to the meeting tonight. Possibly I will be able to show this post to someone at the Convention Centre.


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