Change the reply-to address for automatic email notifications

In the past, all replies to our automatic email notifications (for instance, the email notification you receive when someone has commented on your idea) would be sent to us here at CitizenLab. This was because in general, the automatic emails weren't meant to be replied to by the recipient. 

However, it turns out people are indeed responding to the automatic emails and in some cases with specific feedback and ideas. So, we've made it possible for you to designate a 'reply-to' email address for automatic emails sent from your platform. This means, every time someone responds to an automatic email, it will go to this email address. Please get in touch with your GovSuccess manager to add your organisation's reply-to email address to your account! 

Customise your banner copy and sign-in forms

The banner at the top of your homepage is one of the first things visitors see when they visit your participation platform.

Did you know you can display different text on your banner depending on whether the visitor is just browsing your website, or if they're signed in as a registered participant?

We've added the ability to change the text fields on a couple of places on your platform:

  1. The text on your banner for signed-in platform participants
  2. The header displayed above the projects on your homepage
  3. "Helper text" that is shown on the sign-up form - you can use this to help people understand what they're signing up for, and why you're asking certain questions during registration. 

Want to give it a try? You can find the new text fields in your administrator's panel:

1. Settings > Homepage and style (to change the text on your homepage banner)

2. Settings > Registration (to add "helper text" to your sign-up form)

Add your own spatial layers to your project maps

Showing neighbourhood boundaries, schools, bus stops or other information on a map can be a great way to engage people in providing place-based input.

If you're on our standard and premium plans, you can now add their own map layers to projects that use "input collection" as a participation method.

Just open your project, navigate to the "Map" tab, and upload your GeoJSON files directly. You can give the layers a colour and name, and set the map center and view.

As always, participants can click directly on the map to add their idea or input at a given location.

Ready to give it a try? More detailed information and guidance can also be found in our support center.

Participation rights for citizen proposals

You can now define who can take part in the citizen proposals section of your platform.

As with the permission system already in place for projects, you can define which (smart) groups of users can vote, comment, and/or post proposals.

When combining this with an identity verification system such as DigID, NemID, itsme, or FranceConnect, it means that you can now define that only 'real citizens' can participate and that each citizen can only vote once on a proposal. This renders your citizen proposal feature into a digital alternative for existing legal frameworks around citizen proposals, citizen initiatives, or petitions, all of which are often still done today by collecting signatures on paper.


We also implemented two improvements:

  • Administrators and project managers can now always take any action in their projects, regardless of the permissions set.
  • When adding a new survey project, only logged in users will now be able to participate. If nevertheless, you want all people, with or without being logged in, to participate, you can do that by setting 'Taking the survey' to 'Everyone' in the 'Access rights' tab of your project

Export dashboard graphs

You can now easily export all of the graphs in your admin dashboard.

Filters you're applying will also be applied in the export. And they will be shown in the name of the export file, making it easier to always find back the right file when exporting multiple graphs at once.

When exporting, you have 2 options:

  1. As SVG: This image format allows both simply adding it to a Word document, Powerpoint presentation or anything else, while also changing any of the components in it. E.g. you could change the font or the colors of this SVG image before using it in your report.
  2. As Excel: The raw data of the graph, allowing you to combine it with other data or to do further analysis.

New method: Volunteering

In response to the current Covid crisis, we added a 'Volunteering' method to your platform.

You define the activities for which people can volunteer, and with one simple action, people can indicate you can count on them.

To contact your volunteers and start working with them, simply create an Excel export, and you'll have an overview of all volunteers per activity. Or you can create a smart group with all volunteers of all activities, which you can send a custom email or for whom you could create another project.

Looking for a good starting point? Use our brand new 'volunteering' project template!

Add buttons

In most text editors throughout your platform, you can now also add buttons.

Simply type the text you want a button to contain, click on the 'link' symbol and select the 'button' option. You can now add a link to the page people should be directed to when clicking your button. Make sure to always include the 'https://' part of your link!

Good to know: the button will have the colors you chose for your platform.

Project folders

You can now create 'Project folders'. These folders allow you to group projects that belong together. Some use cases:

  • You have a multiannual track on climate change, and want to group all respective projects below
  • You want to structure the projects on your platform per department
  • You want to clean up your home page and bring all finished and archived projects in 1 folder

Folders can contain any number of projects and contain a title, description, and images. They have their own page with own url to communicate about. You can freely order them along with the other projects on your homepage.

Custom idea field descriptions

When setting up an ideation project, you can now customize the description shown with every input field for people who want to post an idea. This can be done in the new project tab 'Idea form' (see image below).

By doing so, you guide them towards answering the questions you have and towards providing all the requested information. This, in turn, increases the quality of the input you gather.

Some examples:

  • Custom description of the 'Location' field: "Select the location on which your idea for a 'greener playground applies'
  • Custom description for the 'Description' field: "Describe your idea in detail, explaining why the city should implement it and indicating the assumed total budget."

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