Connor Hayes

The Boston Globe has Built a Creative App to Keep Voters Updated

Lauren Hazard Owen of the Neiman Lab pointed out that the Boston Globe released a new app that constantly updated the results of the Iowa caucus. With an audience craving constant updates, the app was ingenuously designed to refresh every 15 seconds, updating both the GOP and democratic sides of the race. The constantly updated results paid off, keeping readers on the edge of their seat, and propelling the page to the most viewed on the day’s bostonglobe.com page views.

With the success that this app has seen, it is likely that the Globe has carved a solid election niche moving forward. Digital design director Michael Workman pointed out to Owen that the apps improved refresh time as a reason for the success.

“We had a lot of people who enjoyed staring at it,” Workman told me. The app built on a similar project that the Globe did in 2014 for the gubernatorial election, but “we pretty much changed everything from top to bottom,” Workman said. “One of the things we were able to do was get the reload time down to 15 seconds, from 60 in 2014. That definitely added to the engagement.”

Matt Karolian, the site’s social media director, also told Owen that globe will likely put more effort into the app following the widespread success.

“It proved out that the direction we’re heading is probably the right one,” Matt Karolian, the Globe’s social media director, said. “Given the success we’ve seen on Twitter, we’ll do some additional promotion on Facebook” ahead of the New Hampshire primaries on February 9.

Since the app is doing such a great job, I decided to look around the web to see what other sites are doing to get page views from interested voters. Perhaps the Globe can use ideas from these other sites to improve on what has already been a huge step forward.

Politico.com has an appealing map setup on their site, where you can click on each of the states to see current and prior caucus/primary results.  This is a good way to comprehend the election results as a visual thinker myself. The site also does a great job of letting users know when the next vote is, featuring a countdown clock to the next caucus/primary. In addition, the site is extremely organized, giving a breakdown of which states are next to participate and specifically when.

The Washington Post attacks the coverage a completely different way, giving readers a wide amount of statistical data to analyze the election, in the form of charts, graphs and maps. Not only does it give a breakdown of how many votes each candidate received, it showed how the candidates fared in each individual county. Among other important pieces of information, it showed how historical votes went, and how much each candidate’s campaign contributions were. The information is then all put in an easy to digest summary for event.

It appears that the Boston Globe had a big breakthrough with constantly updated election results, but other sites out there show that even more can be added to create a better application.

 

 

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