I conducted a test of a canvassing/mapping software called VoterIntel last year during GOTV efforts. VoterIntel is not an application that is downloaded on a phone or tablet, instead it is a secure website. The user interacts via their phone/tablet’s web browser. This allows the designers of VI to focus on a singular browser-based experience, rather than developing a multitude of apps for various phones and operating systems.
In an era when users do not want to read instruction manuals, it is important for users to feel comfortable quickly. The VI platform is simple enough to log-in and begin using without having to read extensive instructions.
The voters are targeted by pinpoints on a map that can be zoomed in or out. As we knock doors and enter data, the pinpoints change in color to show progress. Everything is visually appealing. The colored pinpoints provide the volunteer with a sense of achievement, and more important avoids confusion as targets are clearly marked as completed in real time, meaning volunteers will not mistakenly double-knock a voter’s door.
Because the users are interacting with voters and entering responses in VI, the data is captured in real time. This allows for both accountability of the users (less likelihood of fudging numbers) and of the campaign (certain capture of the data, ability to report numbers instantly). VI staff was able to give me a verbal report on our numbers every evening.
I can see how VI would allow a campaign to very quickly adjust or entirely change its targeting. Instead of having to print new walkbooks, a campaign can just adjust the data and the targets will change in realtime on users’ phone screens.
For screen shot, click here.
Jonathan Gormley is the President of Gormley Greenlight Consulting