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Planview Customer Success Center

Participation Level Optimization

The traditional participation ratio as defined by UX thought leader Jakob Nielsen (in Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute) is 90:9:1. Nielsen states:

User participation often more or less follows a 90-9-1 rule:

90% of users are lurkers (i.e., read or observe, but don't contribute).

9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time.

1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributions: it can seem as if they often post just minutes after whatever event they're commenting on occurs.

To increase participation levels:

  • Be responsive to the individuals in the community.
  • Run regular time-boxed ideation events.
  • Follow through on winning ideas.

This provides members with a greater stake in the content and outcomes than the average casual user of a given site.

Participation is also encouraged in the IdeaPlace platform by the wide variety of ways for members to participate (for example, voting, commenting, reviewing); this helps users overcome their hesitation and start to interact with each other.

With this in mind, we often find that the participation ratio is more likely 70:20:10. So, for every 100 invitations sent out approximately a third to a half will register, and of these 70% will be lurkers, 20% will contribute from time to time, and 10% will account for most of the contributions. However, this depends on a number of factors being met, some of which are detailed below:

Getting the challenge right. A common goal of the platform is to aim the right challenge at the right audience with the right communications strategy. You could have the most well constructed, important challenge in the world but if it's not engaging and not communicated well, you'll be less successful.

Participants should clearly understand the "WIIFM" (What's In It For Me), and the challenge should be important and worthy of their time.

Targeting appropriate participants. Employees will often look at who else is participating when they're trying to decide how to spend their time. If nobody they know, or nobody they perceive as important, is participating, they will be less likely to participate themselves. If their own leadership, other high-level leaders, experts they respect, their bosses, teams and friends are all participating (and discussing it), they will be more likely to feel the need to participate as well.

Accessibility. How ubiquitous and easily accessible the site is, and whether users can easily invite / connect with others, is a key factor in adoption levels. Linking to the platform from the company home page and enabling users to invite others to register can boost adoption levels.

Most of your activities take place on the Administration page, where you click the icons displayed. Each of these icons refers to a set of tasks and activities related to that icon’s function, and you’ll scroll through screens with different parameters, lists, and buttons.

However, not all administrative functionality is accessible on the Administration page. There are other administrative functions such as the Edit button that will be available to you as you move through all of the IdeaPlace pages, and yet other administrative functions you can perform only on different pages, and then only because you have administrative privileges. Administrators also have the ability to edit different areas throughout the site.

A word of warning: Some IdeaPlace tasks can only be done by SuperAdministrators. Your Community Manager can explain this task and the functional difference between an Administrator and a SuperAdministrator.