Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council
The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council (QSAC) was established in November 2016 to provide independent research and advice, seek public views and promote community understanding of sentencing matters.
There’s often a lot of public debate about sentencing and its supposed leniency.
To demonstrate the complexities involved the QSAC wanted an interactive and informative solution to help educate the public and other audiences about the sentencing process in Queensland. Something that placed the participant in the judge’s shoes dealing with real-life events.
With the help of a specialized video agency, QSAC created five interactive court cases that users can watch and judge for themselves.
To deliver the project, the solution needed to be cost-effective and integrated with the QSAC website, which is already powered by Squiz Matrix CMS.
Finally, it needed to handle traffic from the many channels being used to promote the site, be easily editable and modified to accommodate legislative changes, and be capable of providing user insights with easily extractable data.
A microsite, Judge For Yourself, was created.
Users select a case and are presented with a series of videos walking them through the details of the case through court scenes and re-enactments. For each step, users are asked, via a multi-choice quiz, how they would judge the case given the information they’ve just heard.
Quizzes are designed with the Matrix CMS component. Questions, as well as users’ answers, are recorded and stored in Datastore as JSON objects. This approach allows faster and more responsive UI interactions, thanks to smaller payloads and overall faster memory-based application architecture.
Basic browser session data are also recorded to allow users to return and complete their court cases at any time.
All the answers stored in Datastore are then used to feed a reporting dashboard that the site visitors can see at the end of a questionnaire process, telling them how others judged the same court cases.
Judge for Yourself is a video-heavy website, which is typically slow and expensive in data storage. The decision has been made to host the videos on Youtube to save on hosting costs and integrated them into the site via a YouTube integration. Video autoplay without the need for any interaction from the user, making the experience more immersive.
The site was launched as part of Law Week in May 2017 and rolled out via social media and community events. More than 8,000 users gave the site a try in the first six weeks alone, on the path to achieving the target of 20,000 for the first year.
"Having Squiz involved at the early stages of the project meant that we didn’t go down the wrong path, so we saved time and now have a very high-quality product that’s adaptable for the future," said Dan Rogers, council member at Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council.
The site has been a resounding success with students and educators alike. Before its launch, QSAC would visit schools to manually present the different cases. Now, they can simply invite schools to come to the website instead.
The course is also used at universities as a teaching aid for law students.
Relative to other alternatives, Datastore enabled this project to be delivered in half the time, for half the price.