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What's new in Citizen Space v2?

Support -

In November 2015, we launched Citizen Space v2.

With 100+ customers, 5,000+ admin users
 and 10,000+ consultations, we'd accrued lots of insight into what it’s like to use Citizen Space.

We took what we learnt, listened to what our customers told us and kept a lookout for possible new technical improvements. Then, we put all those things together into a new development ‘sprint’ on Citizen Space. The result is v2.

This article is a comprehensive list, summarising all of the changes and additions incorporated in v2: a host of small-but-significant improvements which make Citizen Space faster and easier to use. (For more detail on any of the individual changes, please see the relevant Zendesk article on the topic in question.)

Skip to:

  1. Public/‘front-end’ information
  2. Site management
  3. Building online surveys
  4. Entering responses to surveys
  5. Sharing consultations
  6. Analysis and reporting
  7. Response publishing
  8. We Asked, You Said, We Did (WAYSWD)


  1. Public/‘front-end’ information

    1. It’s now significantly faster – for both participants and admin users – to search for consultations by postcode.
      screenshot of the 'search for consultations by postcode' field in Citizen Space

    2. Citizen Space's Accessibility Policy includes some links to external sites; we’ve updated these to make sure they refer to the latest and most relevant information.
    3. The title of each page now shows your site name first, followed by the words ‘Citizen Space’ (rather than vice-versa, e.g. ‘Arlen Hill – Citizen Space’ instead of ‘Citizen Space – Arlen Hill’).

  2. Site management

    1. We've created a dedicated, customisable 'Support' page. This allows you to edit the content of the 'Support' page to provide the most accurate information for your particular setup (for example, directing users to a central consultation team contact, or providing links to organisation-specific documentation). Now, when admin users click on the 'Support' link at the top of the screen, they'll be taken to that page (instead of just opening a search popup). 
      screenshot of the new 'Support' page in Citizen Space v2

    2. We've also ironed out a couple of minor technical irritations:
      • If you change the URL of a consultation which contains a lot of embedded documents or images, Citizen Space will now process that change far faster.
      • We've fixed a glitch on the 'Manage Consultations' page where clicking on the dropdown to filter by 'We Asked, You Said, We Did' would mistakenly highlight the 'Results' drop-down instead.
      • You can no longer inadvertently create more than one administrator account using different capitalisations of the same email address. (e.g. and Test.User@Arlen-Hill.GOV.UK will now be treated as the same information.)
      • We've also mitigated an issue where bots could send spam messages to Citizen Space site owners through the 'Feedback' form.

  3. Building online surveys

    1. There's a whole new type of question: ranking questions. Use ranking questions to ask respondents to put a set of things in order of priority or preference (for example, 'Please rank these five outcomes in order of desirability').
      screenshot of the ranking question type admin interface in Citizen Space v2screenshot of the ranking question type front-end in Citizen Space v2

    2. We've overhauled the interface for making matrix questions:
      • You can now edit all the rows and columns of a matrix question in a single simple form (rather than having to edit individual rows within a matrix question as separate components).
      • You can now set matrix questions that use dropdowns or radio buttons in such a way that respondents must use a different answer on each row.
        screenshot of the improved matrix question admin interface in Citizen Space v2

    3. We've improved the general interface for building questions:
      • You now select which answer components to add from a neat-and-tidy dropdown list – which also includes a handy preview of the selected answer component.
        screenshot of the 'select answer component' dropdown menu in Citizen Space v2

      • We've amended the layout of the 'Move questions' page so it can accommodate even questions with very long titles.
    4. There's a new-and-improved sidebar when building online surveys:
      • You can now get to the answer components for a question with one click, instead of several.
      • Page and question titles have more space, making them (especially long ones) easier to read.
      • All 'action' links – such as 'Add a question' and 'Move questions' – now have their own icons, making it easier to quickly find the one you want.
        The new-look sidebarscreenshot of the new-look survey sidebar in Citizen Space v2
      • Question-specific actions ('Edit this question', 'Delete this question', 'Copy to saved questions') are found at the top of the question page itself, rather than cluttering up the sidebar.
        screenshot of new 'edit this question' admin interface in Citizen Space v2

    5. We've made preview mode much easier to use:
      • Using the 'Preview Consultation' link while editing a survey now takes you directly to the preview of the part of the survey that you're currently editing (instead of sending you to the front page and requiring you to click through the entire survey).
      • We've added a navigation bar so you can quickly skip to, and between, specific pages and questions while in preview mode.
      • Leaving preview mode now takes you back to the page that you entered it from.
        screenshot of preview mode, showing new yellow bar and dropdown menu, from Citizen Space v2

    6. Cloning consultations and surveys is now significantly faster. We expect cloning of consultations which don't have any responses already (which is normally the case for consultations that are used as templates) to be up to 4 times faster than it is in Citizen Space 1.24.0.
    7. And we've made a couple of small changes for added clarity:
      • If you attempt to clone a consultation with the same URL as an existing consultation, Citizen Space will now automatically change the second consultation's URL to make sure it's unique. (Previously, doing this would result in an 'oops!' error.)
      • The 'Approved for publication?' analyst question is no longer automatically added to newly-created surveys, in order to avoid confusion (as it can sound like a function related to Response Publishing, which it isn't).
      • You're now prevented from publishing a survey if it doesn't have any 'Call To Action' link text. This is a safeguard to ensure this field isn't accidentally left blank (which would mean users couldn't click through to the survey).

  4. Entering responses to surveys

    1. Response receipt PDFs now contain the name of the consultation that was filled in so that respondents can see which consultation they responded to (this is especially useful if they have several receipts downloaded.)
    2. All surveys now display their 'Next', 'First', and 'Previous' navigation buttons at the bottom of the page (rather than at either the top or the bottom depending on settings). It's just better design for encouraging participants to read all the questions.
      screenshot of the survey navigation buttons in Citizen Space v2

    3. With more people responding via mobile, we've made some changes to the way Citizen Space handles cookies, to reflect the way some mobile browsers handle a person starting a response and then returning to it later. Respondent ID cookies (called 'consultation_id') are now set as time-limited cookies with a 2 day expiry, rather than as session cookies. This fixes an issue where some mobile browsers would submit fragmented/incomplete responses because they delete session cookies when the browser is suspended and later resumed.
    4. Survey questions which ask respondents to upload a file now store and display a trimmed version of the uploaded file name. This fixes a situation where some web browsers could disclose information about the directory structure on the uploader's computer when submitting files. (e.g. the browser would give the file the name 'C:/Desktop/Personal stuff/Home improvements/Garden makeover 2015/July pics/IMG_0039.jpg'. Whereas now it will just be 'IMG_0039.jpg')
    5. It's now faster and more robust for admins to use the 'Edit Response' and 'Add Response' pages (for manually entering offline responses), particularly on surveys with a lot of embedded documents or images. This is because we've fixed a 'behind-the-scenes' issue where browsers would request in-line embeds (such as 'object' and 'img' tags) inside Fact Banks inside surveys, even though these are never displayed on-screen on the 'Add Response' or 'Edit Response' pages.

  5. Sharing consultations

    1. Sometimes, people are sent a link to the middle of a Citizen Space survey (for example, if a campaign group wants to highlight a particular question and emails supporters with a direct link to, say, the fourth page of a survey). Citizen Space now automatically redirects visitors to the first page of a survey, even if they were sent a link to a later page. This prevents situations where respondents could follow a link into the middle of a survey and thereby end up accidentally skipping required pages or questions, or submitting an invalid, incomplete response.
    2. Private consultations now have a 'noindex' meta tag on every HTML page. This informs search engines (such as Google) that we would like them not to be listed in search results, even if somebody does accidentally link to the private consultation from another site or via social media.
    3. We've also fixed an issue where the RSS feeds of consultations would break if the owner of a consultation had a non-ASCII character (such as λ or ø) in their email address.

  6. Analysis and reporting

    1. Summary report PDFs are more robust and faster to generate. The revamped PDF reports use bar charts throughout, and the charts are created within Citizen Space (rather than relying on third party services). This means reports are generated more quickly, especially for consultations containing many qualitative questions.
      screenshot of the new PDF reports, showing a bar chart, from Citizen Space v2

    2. The PDF reports now also support interlaced PNG logo files.
    3. We've made several improvements to the yellow bar at the top of the 'Analyse Responses' page. This now brings together, in one convenient place:
      • controls for navigating to particular responses
      • controls for navigating to particular pages
      • summary display of the current response ID, position in the response list and number of responses left to analyse
      • 'Is analysis of this response complete?' tickbox
      • 'Save this response' button
        screenshot of improved yellow bar in 'Analyse Responses' section of Citizen Space v2

    4. We've also made similar improvements for the yellow bar at the top of the 'Add response' and 'Edit analysis info for response' pages.
      • controls for navigating to particular pages
      • 'Is analysis of this response complete?' tickbox
      • 'Save this response' button
        screenshot of improved yellow bar in 'Add Responses' section of Citizen Space v2

    5. When you hit 'Save this response', you'll now see an overlay with a 'saving' message and spinning wheel. This is designed to help prevent accidental double-submissions.
    6. The 'Has this response been analysed?' tickbox now appears only on the analysis pages (i.e. it no longer appears in the survey editor, nor does it need to be actively placed within surveys).
    7. Questions which present multiple choices, such as checkbox questions, now have one column in the spreadsheet export for each possible answer (rather than a single column for the question with comma-separated answers in it). This means that they match the format used by most external analysis tools, which should make life easier when using these external analysis tools with Citizen Space.
    8. The PDF response backup queue is now cleared when cloning a consultation. This fixes occasional duplicate PDFs of responses being created in the PDF response backup directory.
    9. We've fixed an occasional glitch whereby tags with very long titles couldn't be deleted (as they obscured the delete button). Tags can now be deleted on the 'Manage tags' screen, regardless of length.
    10. We've replaced the term 'Interpret' with 'Analyse' throughout the admin system.
      screenshot of 'Analyse and Tag' responses section in the admin system of Citizen Space v2

  7. Response publishing

    1. Response publishing now treats blank answers to qualitative questions the same way that it treats answers to quantitative questions (so you no longer need to individually approve all of a respondent's blank answers).
    2. Text area questions that were not answered no longer display placeholder text in response publishing.
    3. Questions on the 'Moderate Respondent' page are now displayed in the order that they appear in the survey itself.

  8. We Asked, You Said, We Did (WAYSWD)

    1. You can now use text formatting (such as bold and italics) and HTML markup (such as links) in WAYSWD sections – all via an easy-to-use WYSIWYG text editor.
      screenshot of WAYSWD text editor, showing different kinds of text formatting

    2. There is no limit on how much text you can enter in WAYSWD fields (some customers already had unlimited WASYWD text but this is now standard across all Citizen Space instances).
    3. You can now change the default copy at the top of the 'We Asked, You Said, We Did' page.
    4. And, last but not least, we've made sure that 'We Asked', 'You Said' and 'We Did' are consistently capitalised in the feedback section of the consultation overview page (details are important!)
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