What’s In Store For Votellect

Votellect is a work in progress. Feel free to visit the site, but keep in mind that it is by no means any where near complete.

WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF THIS SITE?

I previously discussed my frustration while voting during the mid-term elections. I want to go further into why I’m creating Votellect, what my expectations are for this site, my methodology, and the process I’ll put in place to actually make it to completion.

User education and advocacy

The primary purpose of this site is to be a centralized place for voters to learn about the candidates, propositions, and laws that they are expected to vote for.

Most voters may not have the time or drive to spend countless hours researching the field of candidates or ballot initiatives before them. Currently, you have to visit numerous news outlets, party and candidate websites, or maybe find the one political junkie-friend who loves that stuff. All in order to find an answer.

Not to mention all of the political ads that increasingly get more frequent the closer to voting day you get. Because of this, it’s easier to rely on information found in the ether that tends to be slanted, second-hand information that is difficult to compare between multiple candidates.

HOW WILL IT WORK?

I will run the site alone if and until usage dictates that I recruit another volunteer. This site will be free of editorializing and will rely on firsthand quotes, information pulled from candidates, their affiliate websites, their literature, and news sources. All posted information will have links back to the original source.

A SELF-INFLICTED CHALLENGE

A personal design challenge

I also have two less civic-minded reasons for creating Votellect.

First, it’s a great design challenge. I’ve designed and built plenty of smaller websites and I’ve mocked-up even more, but I’ve never built anything of this (potential) size and feature set.

As a design challenge, it’s exciting because it allows me to do something I love, design, and provide more applied experience in user interface / experience design.
Additionally, the plan of releasing for use in other countries is also a unique design challenge. It forces me to avoid using cliché imagery that you often see around elections and political information in America. Stars, red, white, and blue, eagles, et al. Avoiding this American imagery potentially helps it gain acceptance globally without bewildering others.

A Development Challenge

Second, it’s a web development challenge as well. My HTML and CSS abilities are strong, but I’m lacking knowledge in JavaSCript passed a rudimentary level. This project will test what I know and force me to confront what I do not.

The front-end development side of things has been something I’ve always enjoyed doing and learning more about. This site, by plan, will push all of my technical skills forward and I look forward to the challenge.

BUILD PHASES

This site will be built in three phases to avoid feature bleed and never actually releasing anything.

The first phase will be about getting the site running, nailing down the look and feel of the site, basic national race functionality, and just plain getting it off the ground.

Phase two, to be completed prior to the end of the year will increase the candidate scope, add functionality, and add a section for citizen education.

Finally, phase three will be about packaging it up and making it available for other countries around the world. I haven’t decided how that will occur or what that will look like yet, however.

That covers the why and when of the site. In an upcoming post, I will cover more about the technical side of things.