Stump

Despite the nature of modern social media and the 24 hour news cycle, it can be difficult for political messages to spread organically. Politics is a tricky issue to talk about. People hold their values and beliefs very close to their hearts. There is a notion that speaking about your politics might not be an appropriate topic of conversation even amongst friends. Yet, in the current political climate it's impossible to ignore the volume of news and opinions created from countless sources every day. When people engage with political messaging, it's often a single-serve interaction that gets swallowed up by the next big piece of news. Knowing this context, our client Stump came to us with a specific problem in mind:

How can we incentivize users to spread political campaigns on their social media channels while encouraging future engagement?
Selection of BUNDL screens

00 —Proposal

Our research led us to focus on two main areas of Stump - the campaign landing page and the advocate dashboard. Since the campaign landing page would most often be the first point of entry for the user, it was important that the user feels a sense of trust in the information that they are given. Trust is an incredibly vital part of the political process. People will not engage in political campaigns if they do not trust the process, the cause or the source. Our aim was to give the user enough contextual information to not only allow them to trust the campaign but to feel that they could contribute in a tangible way. In both the campaign landing page and advocate dashboard the charity involved in the campaign is emphasized and the user is given a sense of progress through visual elements that show the users charitable impact in relation to others.

Ultimately, the idea was simple - people want to feel like they are contributing to something that causes positive change and we wanted to provide the platform where it was easy from them to do so.

More details on the design process can be found below.

01 —Background

Stump is a web-based political advocacy platform that aims to use social media as a tool for sponsors to spread awareness about their political campaigns while giving the users the opportunity to raise money for charity for sharing. Stump caters to two specific groups of users - the sponsors who are the figures behind the campaigns that are published on Stump and the advocates who are the users that engage with these campaigns. The aim of Stump is to provide a non-partisan channel for politicians to use as a more personal way to reach their constituents. Their supporters can then organically spread these messages through "word of mouth" with the incentive of raising money for the charities that the particular campaign supports.

Immediately, several initial design questions came to mind before we could begin to tackle the larger problem.

  • A.What makes people want to share their political views online and what value do they get out of it?
  • B.How do you engage with people who are interested in politics but don't share on social media?
  • C.How do you keep people continuously engaged online and is gamification an effective method of achieving this? If not, what are the alternatives?

02 —The Political Process

The initial research allowed me to understand how the political environment and the way the public interacts with politics have changed over the last decade. The internet has not just changed the way we communicate but has also changed the way we make decisions politically and how the public provides support to causes they care about to enact change within society. The Obama campaign, praised for its online campaigning efforts, raised over $400 million exclusively through online channels in 2008. Four years later, the campaign raised an additional $100 million. Sites like Change.org and We The People each have over 100 million users who petition daily for causes they care about. Modern politicians are now catching up with this new way of thinking - political social media presence is at its highest point in history.

This information allowed us to craft certain assumptions we have about the users who might interact with Stump:

  • A.Sponsors feel a sense of community when engaging with political advocacy platforms online.
  • B.Advocates feel incentivized when they can see that they have directly affected the campaign in some way and feel a sense of progress.
  • C.People are willing to share political messages online through social media channels.

03 —Speaking Up

As we began speaking to the users who we identified as potential users, we realized that people have very specific opinions regarding the ways they interact with political media. The interview subjects split into two main categories - people we identified as being sponsors and people identified as advocates. A total of 12 interviews were conducted which gave our team a much clearer insight into the problem that we had at hand.

Interview Insights

  • Users enjoy feeling like they are working towards a goal "I donated to the Hillary campaign because I wanted a chance to win Hamilton tickets."
  • It's difficult to engage in politics on social media "People don't need my help to make up their own mind [about politics]."
  • Complicated data prevents users from making good decisions "The way Google Analytics works is not very user-friendly."
  • People are very critical regarding the source of political news "I pay a lot of attention to the news outlet when clicking on an article. It has to be a source I trust and is reputable."
  • Users want to see the tangible impact of actions taken online "I didn't share my change.org petition on social media because I didn't know what impact it was making."
Stump Mid-Fidelity Prototype