PlanPhilly User Survey: A comparative analysis

We asked our readers to take an evaluative survey on SurveyMonkey in December of 2008 and December of 2009. A little over 300 readers took the survey each year. We have analyzed and compared the two and found some interesting results [ppt].

In both years, the Bella Vista and Old City neighborhoods had the most respondents out of all other Philadelphia neighborhoods. Our most popular survey age groups in 2008 were poulated by readers born in the 1940s and 1950s and in 2009 the 1950s and 1970s. A narrow majority of our survey takers are male, but more female readers have joined us in 2009. In both years, Planning was the favorite Issue. But the preferences for other Issues changed: from Open Space and Zoning in 2008 to Transit and Infrastructure in 2009.

We then compared the reader agreement or disagreement with a multitude of statements.

There was both approval and disapproval of how things have changed at PlanPhilly. Now more readers come to PlanPhilly to shape their opinions and comment on important issues, but there were additional problems with the website format: searching for information was difficult and website design was less likeable.

With the newly launched web design, we hope to remedy these issues to make the reader experience better. Reader  opinion of the city and government of Philadelphia also changed: more readers think the built environment of Philadelphia is improving, but fewer readers approve of Mayor Nutter’s administration and its effectiveness in relation to economic and planning development.

This survey also asked for open-ended responses from the readers. We found that the most popular topics here are information about the waterfronts in Philadelphia, SugarHouse Casino and Foxwoods Casino, and various kinds of development in and around Philadelphia.

What readers want more coverage of includes development information, neighborhood specific information, transit and transportation information, and easier ways to participate and comment on the site.

We also found out what problems readers had with the website: videos were too long or failed to play, articles were too long or poorly formatted, links were occasionally unresponsive or faulty, and events needed to be better displayed.

Taking all of this feedback into account, we plan to move forward and create a better reader experience. We want to thank you for your participation and encourage you to respond to this story with even more useful feedback by writing a comment below or emailing us at You can also view the entire report in PowerPoint here.

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