Communications App

PDF version – Elgin Communications App User Guide

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Introduction

Comms App is a communications tool enabling local authorities and utility companies to enhance information about their roadworks activities on roadworks.org. Comms App consists of a simple content management system enabling customisation of information and media content, real-time updating and syndication through a wide variety of channels, including social media and national and local websites. And all this without changing the statutory workflow processes through “EToN”.
Comms App allows works promoters to set up default messages for different categories of works (e.g. gas main maintenance, customer connections, resurfacing, emergency works, etc.) and bespoke messages for individual works. These can be changed and communicated instantly via the Promoters’ own website, roadworks.org, affiliated channels and social media. The number of user enquiries against particular works can be monitored through the web analytics tool and a sentiment monitoring tool gives feedback on the effectiveness of the information.

With Comms App communications teams can harness the power of roadwork.org to radically improve customer communication about the disruption caused by works in the street. There is a News Widget enabling particularly disruptive works to be displayed in a “news ticker-tape” style format on roadworks.org.
The solution is fully tablet and smartphone ready so it can be used at the roadside, with works teams updating status information in real time. Inbuilt features within the App allow the works promoter to tweet updates including a deep link to the works information on roadworks.org and QR codes for each works can be generated for use on public notices, driving user traffic to the website.

It is important to note that a works promoter can only edit its own works using Comms App Content that can be enhanced includes:

Custom text included on works information panels

  •  Multimedia, PDFs, and Links can be added
  • Include a ‘Contact us’ form on the works information panels
  • Provide a thumbs up or down (sentiment) on the works information panel for end users to indicate usefulness of information
  • News items with hyperlinks to additional information

In addition to the enhanced content, Comms App provides the ability to:

  • Define and enhance default content to be shown on all works information panels as standard
  • Create real time updates on individual works information panels at any time
  • Create filters to enhance content on qualifying works
  • Create bespoke usage and sentiment reports

This guide will provide information on how to configure and use the Comms App.

Getting Started

To access Comms App you will need to have a valid username and password.
NOTE: If you have lost your credentials and need assistance you should contact support@elgin.org.uk.

Logging in

  • To access the Comms App, click and bookmark the URL apps.roadworks.org
  • The login screen will be displayed, the username and password provided by Elgin should be entered into their respective boxes remembering your password is Case Sensitive.
    1 Log in
  • To complete the process, click the ‘Sign in’ button. If successful you will be presented with the home screen
    2 apps admin
  • If you get a sign in error please try to enter your credentials again. If the issue persists then please contact support@elgin.org.uk.

Accessing Comms App

When logging into Apps for the first time the view you will be presented with is the App home screen. The map will be present on the left with the layers which are active showing within the ‘Whats on this map’  information panel and the administration panel on the right.
The ‘Comms Management’ button will be displayed on the administration panel along with any other apps you have permission to access. To access Comms App simply click on the ‘Comms Management’ button to be presented with the Comms App main menu.
admin panel

Navigating Apps using the user context menu

You can use the User Context menu to navigate to Comms App. At the top of the Apps panel you will see your Account Name (normally your own name or team name) with a little arrow to the right side. Clicking on the arrow will open the user context menu. In this instance click on ‘Comms Management’ to open the Comms App main menu
context menu

Communications Management Main Menu

The Comms App Main menu provides access to the functionality of the App. This functionality has been grouped into six top level menus, namely:

  • Individual works content
  • Default works content
  • Works categories
  • Website usage report
  • Sentiment analysis report
  • News Widget

admin

Creating Default Works Content

Default Works Content gives you the ability to add custom content which gets displayed on all works across your organisation which you have responsibility for. Therefore it is best to keep the content entered into this section generic to your organisation and should be considered corporate content or messaging.

  • The ‘Default works content’ options are accessed by clicking on the main menu option button.
  • This will open the ‘Default works content’ menu that consists of two tabs
    • Works settings
    • Works content

default

Choosing content to enable

The ‘Works settings’ tab allows you to choose sections that should be included as standard across all your organisations works information panels.
The three sections that can enabled or disabled are:

  • Information for residents – a text section containing the default information defined by the organisation for the residents in the area
  • Contact us – a contact information section and form within the works information panel that allows end users to contact the organisation about the individual work, providing their email address.
  • Sentiment analysis tool – provides a thumbs up and thumbs down within the works information panel that enables end users to indicate if the information provided was useful or not.
    NOTE: if this option is not enabled then a ‘Sentiment analysis report’ cannot be created.

To determine if these are enabled or disabled simply select the corresponding radio button.
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Managing the content

The ‘Works content’ tab  allows users to define the content that will be added to works information panels based on what is enabled in the ‘Works settings’ tab.

  • To add the text that will be displayed in the ‘Information for residents’ section of the works information panel simply insert your content into the text box underneath the heading of this section.
  • When completed click ‘Save’.
  • To ensure the ‘Contact us’ section is present on the works information panel, the ‘Contact us text’ and ‘Contact form email’ sections need to be completed.
    ‘Contact us text’ can be completed to display contact numbers or just a simple generic ‘Please provide your feedback’ text.
  • The email address given will receive the enquiries from the end users about the works.
  • Once the information is complete click ‘Save’.
    The supplied information will automatically updated instantly.
    NOTE: Check the display of a works information panel to ensure you are satisfied.
    default3

Adding media to a works information panel

In addition to enhanced text it is also possible to add multimedia, PDFs and URL links via the ‘Add media’ button found at the bottom of the user panel.

The ‘Add media’ button is an option available when using the following functionality from the main menu:

  • Individual works content
  • Default works content
  • Works categories

Through this function it is possible to add:

  • An external link to a valid web site
  • A link to a YouTube video
  • A link to download a PDF document
    Media
    Once multimedia has been added it will display on the works information panel as a blue button that can be clicked to access the content.
    Callouts

Adding external links

Links can be used to direct the user to a corporate website or a specific page URL on the web.
Adding a link:

  1. Choose the main menu function which you would like to add multimedia
  2. Click ‘Add media’ button found at the bottom of the selected section.
  3. Click ‘External link’ from the drop down menu
  4. The ‘Add external link’ menu will appear
  5. In the ‘Link URL’ box enter the URL that should be used (eg. elgin.org.uk)
  6. In the ‘Link label’ box provide a short meaningful label for the link
    NOTE: for Individual work content media this label will also be shown on the works information panels to identify the media.
  7. The ‘Add’ button will turn green showing it is available and clicking on it will add the linkLinks that have been added are displayed below the ‘Add media’ button. Clicking on the item will allow you to edit it. If the item is to be removed completely this is done simply by clicking the red cross to the right of the item.

Adding video links

Adding video links helps direct the user to a video which should be relevant to provide more information.
Adding a video link is very similar to that of creating an external link.

  1. Choose the main menu function which you would like to add multimedia
  2. Click ‘Add media’ button found at the bottom of the selected section.
  3. Click ‘Video’ on the drop down menu
  4. The ‘Add video’ menu will appear
  5. In the ‘Video URL’ box enter the desired informational video link
  6. In the ‘Video label’ box provide a short meaningful label for the link NOTE: for Individual work content media this label will also be shown on the works information panel to identify the media.
  7. The ‘Add’ button will turn green showing it can be used and clicking on it will add the linkLinks that have been added are displayed below the ‘Add media’ button. Clicking on the item will allow you to edit it. If the item is to be removed completely this is done simply by clicking the red cross to the right of the item.

Adding PDF content

Comms App provides the capability for content that has been created externally to be uploaded to Elgin and made available on a works information panel. It should be noted that the type of content that can be uploaded is restricted to the PDF format.
The steps to add a PDF to a works information panel are as follows:

  1. Choose the main menu function which you would like to add multimedia
  2. Click ‘Add media’ button found at the bottom of the selected section.
  3. Click ‘PDF’ on the menu
  4. The ‘Add PDF’ menu will appear
  5. Click ‘Upload PDF’
  6. A standard file selection box for your computer will open
  7. Navigate to where you saved the PDF of choice, select and click ‘Open’
  8. The uploaded PDF will be shown above the ‘Upload PDF’ button once the upload has been completed
  9. In the ‘PDF label’ box provide a short meaningful label for the link. NOTE: for Individual work content media this label will also be shown on the works information panel to identify the media.
  10. The ‘Add’ button will turn green showing it can be used and clicking on it will add the linkLinks that have been added are displayed below the ‘Add media’ button. Clicking on the item will allow you to edit it. If the item is to be removed completely this is done simply by clicking the red cross to the right of the item.

Works Categories

‘Works categories’ give you the ability to group works of a similar type and category, create filters based on the works reference number which then the Comms App automatically assigns text relevant to the groups of works.
The relevant text will be assigned to the works information panels if they meet a criteria filter. The filters are based on the works references set up in your streetworks register to identify these works categories.
NOTE: you will need to establish if any portion or your works reference (i.e prefix) indicates internally the type of work. Some streetworks systems randomly assign works reference numbers without allowing the ability to indicate the type of works. If your streetworks system does not allow for you to distinguish the type of works with a prefix or string of text in your works ref, ‘Works categories’ will not be able to be set up for your organisation at this point in time.

For example, you might want all works where the works reference contains ‘SKIP’ to display a message about skip licences, or all works references with a prefix of XX01 to display a message about Emergency works.
Once these have been identified and set up as filters the works information panel will automatically display the custom text and media for each works information panel of the category on roadworks.org.`

Filter Structure

Filters are created using regular expressions and adhere strictly to the defined structure and arrangement of text.
Some examples:
SKIP matches any part of the works ref containing ‘SKIP’ (uppercase only)
XY25 matches any part of the works ref containing ‘XY25’ beginning, middle or end if XY25 were to identify the works category for Skips.
^XY25 matches any works ref beginning with ‘XY25′ The ^ indicates the reference must be at the start of the works ref ^..25 matches any works ref where the third and fourth characters are ’25’ B10$ matches any works ref ending ‘B10’. The $ indicates the sting of text and numbers will be found at the end of the works ref [Ss][Kk][Ii][Pp] matches any works ref containing ‘SKIP’ (uppercase or lowercase)
You can find a good tutorial on using regular expressions here.

Adding a new category

To create a new category that will be displayed in a works information panel with custom content.

  1. From ‘Comms Management’ main menu click ‘Works categories’
  2. The ‘Works categories’ taskbar/menu will be available
  3. Click ‘Add new’ at the top right next to the home button.
  4. On the ‘Edit works category settings’ menu complete fields ‘Works category label’, ‘filter for assigning works’, ‘Works popup section’ and ‘Description text’
  5. ‘Works category label’ should be filled in with straightforward and direct label for the category – this will be the test shown on the main ‘Works Categories’ taskbar/menu
  6. The ‘Filter for assigning works’ text box is where you will need to put the identifying text from your EToN works reference to identify matching works. This identifying text can be in different forms depending on how your organisation has set these up. It could be a prefix containing letters and numbers or a string of numbers found within the middle of the EToN works Reference.
  7. Provide a section heading which added to the works information panel in the ‘Works popup section heading’ box
  8. ‘Description text’ box is the generic text given for your Filter – it will be displayed on all works information panels which meet the criteria for the given Filter under the text provided in the ‘Works popup section heading’
  9. The media which you would like add to ‘Works categories’ should be generic but meaningful to the Filter, it will be displayed on all works information panels of this type which meet the criteria given. To include media using the ‘Add media’ button please see ‘Adding media to a works information panel’ section of this document.
  10. When category is complete click ‘Save’

 

Editing an existing filter

Categories that have been created are listed on the ‘Works categories’ menu. Clicking on a listed category will take you into edit mode, where you can modify and then save content at any time. If the item is to be deleted completely this is done by clicking on the red cross to the right of the item on the main ‘works categories’ task bar.

Changing the filter order

It is necessary to have the ability to prioritise the order of these category filters. As the possibility exists that a single works could satisfy multiple filters. The highest priority is the category that is listed first will be shown in the works information panel with the priority reducing from top to bottom.
To change the order simply hover to the left of the category to be moved. When the 4 pointed cross becomes visible click on the category and drag it up or down and drop in the desired position.

Individual Works Content

The individual works content provides you control to customise and add content which is added on a single works information panel, for example this could include good news messaging about the works or adding scheme specific information about delays. When you create Individual works content, this will be displayed in the works information panel and can be entered or modified in a text section called ‘Information for residents’. In addition to text content in the works information panel, extra sources of multimedia can also be added.
NOTE: only works designated as your organisation being responsible for can be altered

Adding custom text to a works information panel

To populate text that will be displayed under ‘Information for residents’ in a works information panel  the following steps should be followed.

  1. Ensure you have the works information panel which you wish to add information open on the map
  2. Click on the ‘Individual works content’ menu item
  3. The ‘Information for residents text’ box should appear on the user control. NOTE: If you get message telling you that you have non organisation works selected then you do not have permission to change those works.
  4. Enter the text that you wish the works information panel to display within the text box
  5. Click save
    The works information panel will automatically refresh once saved and the custom text will be displayed.
    This content can be updated or added to at any time by repeating the above steps.

Adding media content

The method to add media is described in the previous section ‘Adding media to a works information panel’.

Sharing links to works information panels Comms App provides 4 mechanisms that make it easy to share a link with others to the pop out containing the individual content that has been added.

  • Deep Links –Shown as a double link is a URL that when clicked will directly take the user to the works information panel. Can be used as a hyperlink in emails or on internal web pages.
  • QR codes (Quick Response Code) – an image that when read by a QR reader will directly open the works information panel. Can be used to add to documents on site of works for individuals to gain more information while on the move.
  • Twitter sharing – log in to a twitter account and send a tweet sharing the link for the individual work.
  • Facebook sharing – login to Facebook and share the link on a Facebook page – will open up a box to add text to a status which users can click on and be directed to the specific work.
  • These options become active when a works information panel is open on the map and are accessed via the four buttons directly below the User bar
  • Buttons will be grey until the Individual works information panel is open. For LA’s this functionality is available for all works within your boundary. NOTE: Once a works has expired, when using one of these links it will provide a message that the works are no longer available.

Creating Website Usage Reports

The website usage report information gives you an insight into which works are gaining most clicks.
There are 3 types of reports:
Primary

  • Summary report – The sum of counts on individual works references
  • Detailed report – A date stamped report of every detailed on separate lines
    Additional
  • Accesses from QR Codes Only – a view of the data based upon hits that are tracked as being directly from a QR code

To create a report:

  1. Open the ‘Website usage report’ menu
  2. Select the ‘Start date’ by clicking on the calendar icon and picking the date
  3. Select the ‘End date’ by clicking the calendar icon and picking a date after the ‘Start date’
  4. Using the radio button choose ‘Summary report’ or ‘Detailed report’ as required.
  5. If you want your ‘Summary’ or ‘Detailed’ Report to be based on accesses by QR code, check the ‘Accesses from QR codes only’
  6. Click ‘Run report’ to generate the report
  7. When the report has been generated it will download via your browser and can opened using a suitable application

Creating Sentiment Analysis Reports

If Sentiment analysis has been enabled in the ‘Default works content’ section then it is possible to run a report to see if users have indicated a positive or negative sentiment via the works information panel. To run a report:

  1. Click on ‘Sentiment analysis report’ from the Comms App main menu
  2. The Sentiment analysis report taskbar/menu will be displayed
  3. Select the ‘Start date’ you would like your report to capture the information from by clicking on the calendar icon and picking the date
  4. Select the ‘End date’ of your report by clicking the calendar icon and picking a date after the ‘Start date’
  5. ‘Run report’ to generate the report
  6. A Report summary will be displayed on the screen showing the date range, the number of likes and the number of dislikes

News Widget Items

The News widget is a scrolling news banner which can only be used on your embedded version of the Elgin map. The news widget highlights information for general users’ attention. Information on embedding can be found here.
Clicking on ‘News widget’ from the main menu will open the News widget taskbar.
Those items that are active are listed in blue, whilst items with a date range no longer active are still listed but in grey.

Linking your News Item to a specific work

If you need to bring attention to a specific work on the map you can link your news item to directly take the user to this works information panel

  1. Click ‘Add new’ in the ‘News widget’ taskbar/Menu
  2. Ensure the works information panel is active if you are linking to a specific work and open on the map
  3. Select ‘Link to works’ at the bottom of the taskbar.
  4. Add the important news information to be displayed in your widget in the ‘Headline’ text box
  5. If you would like your news item to be active on your News Widget for the duration of the works choose to ‘Inherit dates from works’
  6. To set independent dates for the display of your news item select the start date by clicking on the first calendar icon and the end date by clicking on the second calendar icon then choosing the desired dates.
  7. If the news item is time sensitive you can set a start time by clicking on the first clock icon and then setting the appropriate time with the arrows (optional).
  8. If the end time of the news widget is time sensitive you can set the time by clicking on the second clock icon and then setting the appropriate time with the arrows (optional)
  9. Click ‘Save’ to create the news item
  10. Click ‘Back’ to return to the ‘News widget’ taskbar

Creating News Items with Information and URLs not related to works

Sometimes you may want to highlight or promote to users information on external URLs. These may not have anything to do with the information on the roadworks.org map.

  1. Click ‘Add new’ in the ‘News widget’ taskbar
  2. Add the important news information to be displayed in your widget in the ‘Headline’ text box
  3. Add the URL link to the external site in the ‘Custom URL’ text box
  4. Provide a meaningful description of the URL in the ‘URL description’ text box
  5. Click ‘Save’ to create the news item
  6. Click ‘Back’ to return to the ‘News widget menu’

Editing a news item

News items that have been created are listed on the ‘News widget’ taskbar.
Clicking on the item, regardless if currently active or not will allow you to edit and change any of the information populated during its creation. This is particularly useful if you want to make an item active again simply by changing the dates and saving. If the item is to be removed completely this is done by clicking the red cross to the right of the item on the main ‘News widget’ taskbar.

Additional Support

Experiencing issues? Have a question? Contact us:
Email: support@elgin.org.uk
Telephone: 0207 127 6955
Twitter: @ELGINROADWORKS