How might we better engage eligible California voters in the election process?
What Is? Needs Finding
Statistics have shown that California’s Latino population, ages 25-35, have the lowest voting turnout of 23.4% compared to the national average of 40%
We dedicate our effort in researching the pain point of this demographic precisely
Upon further three-level user research interviews, we gathered feedbacks from influencers (politicians or experts with relevant knowledge), office workers, and street workers. By using an ethnographic approach, we revealed that the biggest pain points for our demographic group is the lack of sense of belonging, and unsure if their voice could be heard. There are the fundamental needs of behavior change in bridging the current disconnect in trust between citizens and politicians.
Obama’s We The People
The White House in 2011 started a Web initiative, called “We The People,” that allows Americans to draft digital petitions on a range of issues. President Obama promised to consider any petition that garnered 5000 signatures within 30 days of being posted.
Iceland's Crowdsourced Its New Constitution
Following the massive social unrest from Icelandís 2008 banking collapse, the country's political landscape changed drastically. In Fall 2012, Iceland elected a 25-member Constitutional Advisory Council from more than 500 candidates, sought feedback through social media sites, and then drafted a new constitution based on that input. The document was approved by national vote in November 2012.
LATINOS ARE ACTIVE ON ONLINE COMMUNITY
• 34% of Instagram users are Hispanics, a much higher percentage than their white counterpart (21%).
• Hispanic 18-34 yrs old spent average of 12 hrs/week playing online video games, Non-Hispanic spent average of 9 hrs/week.
Testing & Validation
Through a constant effort of ideating and assumption testing, we realize the key to voter engagement within the Latino community is the build a trustworthy platform, and thus allow transparent conversation between the users and the influencers. The following is a sample of our process documentation:
From our research, we found out the cultural significance of "community" within our targeted demographic. The key was how to design a platform that triggers the emotional level of our end users— and empowers them to feel their participation on this platform could really benefit their community, and, collectively, their voice could be heard by the influencers and politicians. In order to achieve such ambitious goal, our team went through 8 rounds of prototyping process and repeat user test procedure from the end users.
What Works? Solution
We pitched ‘Fote’, a 30 days digital experience that allows direct conversation between users and politicians.
This experience utilizes the civic engagement methodology. The application will launch exactly 30 days prior to election day. Every day, the user would be assigned a specific task that is relevant to the daily Latino living experience— housing, immigration, education, minimum wage, etc. With that, users could respond to the task through photo, caption, and current policies survey. Upon uploading the daily image, the user will then be able to see his/her image on the communal image wall, and read into how others in the community has responded to this particular issue. By doing so, this platform not only triggers the daily action of taking a photo, but also promotes discussion among friends and family afterwords— the transparent conversations on politics is exactly what we hope to achieve.
To highlight the civic engagement element on this platform: as the user return to the app each day— he/she will land on an "influencers' response" page, which a curate response from either politician or local well-respected community leader to address issues accordingly based on the public’s voice (result from previous day).
The following is the information architecture chart for Fote. The highlighted yellow sections, response & result, are where we intent to deliver a strong community bonding and empowering experience.
And? Next Step
Based on the 5 months interdisciplinary in-depth research, design, prototype and user test— the Fote project focuses its solution on user desirability and technological feasibility. We are confident that the solution is scalable and impactful within our target group.
In the meanwhile, if the team were to continue developing this project, we will be analysing the viability of this solution, and measure whether or not the current model is financially sustainable in the market.