Fair Play – a brief review of this partly online consultation for young people.

I’ve just played the online consultation game from the Department of Children and Families. You can find it here www.dcsf.gov.uk/playspace. Sorry to the folk at the department if I’ve slightly skewed the result. I ticked the over 13 button (which is true) as were the rest of my answers.

I expected to be very dismissive of the game but I was instead interested. It was an intelligent way to use a simple game to narrow down who was sharing their opinions. Allowing choices of things to go on the playground as a reward was a good idea (I immediately chose the treehouse, tunnel and den – why wouldn’t you!). The main problem with the game as a tool for consultation is I have no real incentive to work my way through to the the end. However it might work as a social object – to encourage a group of people to talk about what they want from play areas. It is also only one game – so inevitably won’t be well enough targeted for different age groups.

There is a separate online questionnaire, which I imagine is where the department is really expecting to get useful data. This, and all the other information could do with being more smoothly integrated. At the moment the game has it’s own set of pages, the rest simply appears on the web in a way which suits the department internal bureaucracy rather than the user. The game ought to have it’s own site with all the other information radiating out from that. It also would work best as w widget or some sort of onlne object which can be integrated into other people’s sites, myspace pages etc. Then the audience can distribute the consultation.


  • A good stab
  • Not in the slightest web 2.0
  • Would have benefited from being executed with more conviction.