Volunteers rate the debate

Yesterday a user group had the opportunity to test out a prototype Election Debate audience feedback tool at KMi.

A group of voters gathered in our Podium space to watch one of last year’s political debates and log our reactions to the speakers’ performances using an innovative online tool. The prototype application was tested on laptops, tablets and smartphones to capture the user’s experience.

Testers chose from 20 different statements presented as coloured buttons on the screen to indicate their reaction to a debater’s performance. Examples of the statements included, “This is useful and informative” or “S/he’s speaking to us as if we’re stupid”.

The testing session was followed by a lively debate between the volunteers on the merits of the tool and the possible impact it could have on viewers’ behaviour. Some suggested that giving political parties such detailed feedback on what reactions individual statements and phrases had on them would give them too much power, while others relished the thought of being able to share their views dynamically with others and found the tool empowering .

Personally, I’m looking forward to testing the next iteration of the app which will help make sense of what could be a seven-party debate leading up to the General Election on 7 May 2015.

To find out more about the Election Debate Visualisation project watch this space for further details about how you can register for a talk from the project’s lead Anna De Liddo which will be part of The Open University’s Open Minds series.


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