In October of this past year, Austin Tech Alliance and Leadership Austin announced the beta launch of Informed.vote, a nonpartisan platform intended to increase voter knowledge regarding local elections in Austin and their candidates. (Read about the beta launch press release and Informed.vote’s importance within the Austin community here.)
With the help from the Spring 2019 University of Texas MBA+ team , ATA has developed a plan for further improvements to the site and possible marketing pathways. The meeting took place on May 28th with Austin Tech Alliance and Leadership Austin in attendance, working together to find effective solutions to the MBA+ team’s concerns.
The MBA+ team’s research encompassed 170 civilian survey responses, 12 additional in-person interviews, and multiple candidate/organization responses, all from which the team was able to compile and write up recommendations for ATA. These recommendations include (but are not limited to):
- developing more partnerships with pro-voting organizations and news stations
- designing a more precise website
- sustaining a focus on the educational aspects regarding voting rather than strictly informational content
The presentation centered around concerns from the candidates, organizations, and voters (stemming from the above research). Three common pain points between the responses were lack of time, ability for the site to stay relevant/up-to-date, and complete nonpartisanship (or lack of biased responses/content). The Informed.vote team will concentrate on eliminating these concerns and sharpening their criteria for the site’s content.
Short term recommendations include addressing pain points, engaging the right resources (i.e. investment in marketing), improving the information presentation, analyzing possible duplication within TechVotes and Informed.Vote, and devoting time to the overall security of the site’s privacy information.
After these short term recommendations have been taken into consideration, the team suggested expanding site outreach, becoming an education source for the voters, and finding sources for user engagement retention. These long term recommendations will only be instituted after the short term suggestions are implemented.
With the team’s recommendations in mind, ATA’s leadership has begun pursuing actions, current and future, to create a user-friendly, informative tool for all Austin voters. The Summer 2019 University of Texas MBA+ team is working on developing recommendations for efficient marketing strategies and social media implementation that will be presented in the coming months. Within ATA, the Summer 2019 interns are focused on the development of a criteria system for organization involvement, the application of candidate response content/length, and the analysis of the intersection between TechVotes and Informed.vote.
Informed.vote and it’s creators would like to take the time to thank the Spring 2019 MBA+ team’s devotion to the betterment of this voter education tool. With their insight and extensive research within the Austin community, Informed.vote is able to better serve the candidates, organizations, and voters as a source for election information, voter education, and civic engagement awareness.