Lifting the lid on the new townhall

Over the past six months a hard working team in Vietnam have rebuilt the townhall platform from scratch.

After two years of running the tool as a Facebook app, built with PHP and an out-of-the-box content management system, it was time to take things to another level.

First of all, we needed to make it work on the mobile. Rather than ask participants to download an app, we decided to make it a web responsive app, so it displays the best layout according to the device that is viewing it.

Making it a web app also meant that people don’t have to be a Facebook user to sign-in and vote.

Registration only requires an email and participants have the choice to remain anonymous to the townhall organizer. We will be adding one click sign-ups to allow people to connect easily through their social accounts, but the user decides what additional data they are willing to disclose.

Secondly, we needed to build an entirely different content management system that is more intuitive and allows our customers to sign-up, manage their questions and account independently of us.

This also meant we could offer the tool for free, to give smaller organizations the chance to use a limited version of the tool.

The dashboard is a much easier design and there’s now an option to view demographic and result data online with colourful graphics and easy to understand data.

We decided to build the new townhall platform in Ruby on Rails using a postgres database with Unicorn as the web server.

Giving an optimal experience for the participant has always been our priority because that’s the only way to increase the number of the participants and the likelihood of sharing of the question through social networks.

The benefits for participation on townhall for the end user (participant) are:

Choice to remain anonymous
A single login for all townhall installations
Once only submission of demographic data (optional)
Ability to opt out of notifications
Ability to see results and compare opinions

The other big change you might have noticed is that we decided to rebrand. A new logo and a new name.

Townhall has gone beyond pure social and it’s closer to a platform, therefore, we wanted the brand name to be simpler so people feel comfortable just calling us townhall.

Take a look at the User Guide to learn how it works.

Visit our You Tube channel to watch screencasts.