We have commenced the soft launch phase of Workshop, our online community for sharing D.I.Y. and gardening tips and inspiration.
The site can be found at www.workshop.com.au.
Our goal for Workshop is to help everyone to do it themselves. We want to help ignite imagination, foster D.I.Y. conversation and celebrate accomplishments.
The site is initially hidden behind a password-protected curtain, but if you'd like access please let me know. We would welcome you joining in the conversation and certainly welcome any feedback.
We have already invited a select group of community founders to join Workshop. These community founders are passionate about topics like renovation, gardening and D.I.Y. and have expressed interest in being a founding member.
When we have a solid foundation of quality content, the password-protection will be removed. Workshop will then be promoted to our customers and all our internal team members will also be invited to participate.
We will also continue to develop the site’s design, features and functionality following community feedback.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,
Thanks for sharing! I'd love to hear some of your insights around the process you took to get here (methodology, design decisions, tales of the unexpected).
This is my favorite discussion so far: https://www.workshop.com.au/t5/Interiors/Your-biggest-D-I-Y-blunder/m-p/341
Thanks for your interest.
The genesis of the community was the acknowledgement that while Australians love getting stuck into DIY projects and have an enormous appetite for home improvement, it isn't always easy and lots of projects are left unfinished. We thought about offering online support from our team members, but believe the best service experience for customer support is always going to be in-store. We also thought that a pure customer service channel would be a huge missed opportunity - that only a true community of interest could harness the amazing bredth of knowledge, skills and experience that Australian DIY and gardening enthusiasts can share with each other. It was also important that it have its own identity seperate from our brand so that community members could truly feel like it was their place. Hence our branding - "This is my Workshop."
I'm really pleased that we had a very clear vision for the community from the outset, with the three tenets to ignite imagination, foster DIY conversation and celebrate accomplishments, and that the result is very faithful to that vision.
The design methodology was to keep the site as simple as possible. We feel this was important to ensure it was as accessible to a wide audience as possible, but also to ensure that our community members and their content were the focus. We didn't want the site to be too fussy, too busy, too complicated, too intimidating, we wanted to create an inviting, welcoming space where our community members and their projects are the stars.
Our soft launch has also been deliberately low-key. We've hand-picked community founders and invited them to participate, and hope that in this early period they can establish relationships and make Workshop their own. We also don't want to promote the site widely until there is a good foundation of quality content.
So it's certainly a very modest site to begin with. We only have four discussion boards - Interiors, Gardening, Outdoor Living and Getting Started - to concentrate activity. Hopefully as the volume of posts grow we will introduce more specific boards in future, for example replacing Interiors with the likes of Kitchen, Bathroom, Living and Dining, etc. But to speak to the wide variety of subjects that our community members will discuss, and to give an alternative way of navigating the site, we have introduced a Label system. Rather than being focused on specific areas of the house/garden like our boards, these labels represent activities such as building and construction, plumbing, painting and decorating. So far it seems to be working well.
We know Australians are often searching for ideas for their projects, so many will be coming to the site seeking inspiration. We hope our gallery serves this purpose, as well as being the easiest way people can start participating (photo sharing). We repurposed the contests module to create the gallery. But now that the new media experience has made showcasing visual content much easier, we might consider using that instead of contests if feedback suggests community members find it easier. The new media experience's might be a little more dynamic in terms of presentation than our gallery.
The final component of the site is a blog that will be primarily used to showcase the community's best content and leading contributors. We will profile a different community member each week.
Tales of the unexpected.... There haven't been too many surprises. Of course everyone always underestimates how much is involved in establishing a new community, and it was certainly the case with Workshop. I had hoped that we would have launched earlier in the year. But the extra time was probably a blessing as it allowed me a lot of time to identify and build relationships with potential community founders - and those efforts are now starting to bear fruit with a small group of highly engaged members now on the site and providing very positive feedback.
Thanks again for your interest.
Awesome - I love the behind-the-scenes insights.
Looking forward to hearing your progress. I have quite a few projects on the list here, so I may drop in to get some advice all the way over here in the U.S. 🙂