School of Computing

Projects

Enabling Simple Public Voting and Consultation in Local Communities

This project builds on the Bespoke project, which resulted in the deployment Viewpoint, a public voting device inspired by difficulties encountered when attempting to encourage residents in a Preston estate to voice their opinions. Many residents did not want to be identified as ‘busybodies’, while others felt disenfranchised and saw little reason to participate in local or national politics.

Viewpoint was developed to address this issue in two ways: by making voting on local issues very easy and by providing a feedback mechanism to make the outcome of consultations more visible. The device allowed councillors and local organisations to post weekly questions on three devices located in public areas, on which local residents could vote easily using two large buttons on the device. During a two-month deployment, over 1,800 votes were placed and the deployment was successful in exposing a number of issues surrounding local democracy and participation.

This project aims to bring the output of the Bespoke project to residents in the North East, as well as exploring the commercialisation of the design and technology through collaboration with YouGov, a national polling organisation. This will be achieved by redeploying Viewpoint as part of Newcastle City Council’s “Let’s Talk Newcastle” consultation scheme.