We're fortunate in New Zealand to have freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press - all central to democracy. It's important that as voters we are well informed and are able to vote according to our own values.

We're pretty pumped to have worked with Massey University's Design and Democracy team to develop the online tool – On the Fence – helping voters understand which parties best align with their point of view.  The aim of this online education tool is to build political confidence, participation, and transform disengaged users into informed, active voters.

Umbraco provided the perfect content management system to build a tool that was both flexible enough to handle the ever-changing minds of politicians, while being robust enough to maintain a consistent algorithm to produce accurate results for every user.

With first-time voters forming the primary audience, fun and flexible were the name of the game for this digital tool and we use animation to help break down boredom barriers and keep politics accessible to this younger demographic.

The tool works using a slider for the first 12 questions, asking the user to prioritise two competing statements using a slider. This slider enables the user to balance each option and position themselves relative to each values statement.

After each question is answered, an icon appears in the landscape, building a representation of the users’ own priorities. This landscape forms the basis of one of the features we’re most proud of in this build – a unique social sharing image that is generated for every user once they’ve completed the questionnaire.  This encourages users to share their results with their friends and whānau and helps keep the important conversation about the need to vote going.

A tool made in Aotearoa for kiwi voters, On the Fence benefits from Umbraco’s ability to manage multilingual content with ease.

Users are provided with the option to engage with the tool in Te Reo as well as English. What’s more, giving users this option is a breeze through Umbraco 8.0’s  side-by-side content editing, meaning the content administrator can manage all content one place and compare how the English and Te Reo versions display with a click of a button – Tu Meke!

On the Fence was built with the support of the Electoral Commission and McGuinness Institute.

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