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Ask Away: Staking Out the Stakeholders

Project: Ask Away

Ask Away is a web application which aims to make it easier for young people to get informed and involved in elections. It is a question and answer platform where the public can ask New Zealand’s political parties questions in the lead up to the 2014 General Election.

This project has stakeholders from academia, mainstream media, open source developer communities, parties from across the political spectrum and not for profit organisations. User-centred and user experience design techniques were used not only to meet the needs of end users, but to cater to each of these stakeholders and get them contributing to the project.

The initiative is housed within Massey University’s Design & Democracy project, a strategic research unit within the College of Creative Arts. This is the first open source software project to be funded by CoCA, and I will discuss how that came about as well as the design methods that were used to enable collaboration across this broad range of stakeholders.

Meg Howie

Meg Howie is a designer and thinker whose practice spans graphic, interactive, film, service and performance design. She is currently undertaking a Master of Design at Massey University and her research explores the influence of open source culture and participatory democracy on civic engagement. Meg’s work is deeply social, and draws from human-centred design, behavioural psychology and collaborative modes of working.