If you consult young people by running a series of face-to-face workshops then the chances are that after you’ve run the first workshop there will be things you’ll want to adapt for future sessions. Unless you’re working with a very fixed research methodology, you may even adapt the workshop as you go – responding to the prior knowledge and needs of the young people you are working with.
I’ve often had to add new activities into a workshop, or take some out to accommodate the particular levels of interest, background knowledge and literacy of the young people I’m working with.
But when you consult with an online survey, the same ‘feedback loop’ that allows you to check if you are pitching the questions right, and to adapt, doesn’t always exist. And that makes it really important to get young people involved in the design of your online survey, or at least to try out a draft with members of your target audience for the real thing.
Otherwise you end up with examples like this – packed full of assumed knowledge, jargon and questions structured entirely around a policy agenda rather than young people’s lives.
When it comes to delivering consultation online, thinking about accessibility matters more than ever.