Race to the Beehive

This election is not only the election of the selfie, but it also looks to be the game/quiz party vote finding election. I have already blogged about Ask Away and On the Fence, and there is also TVNZ’s Vote Compass project. But I have just found another one. This time from Stuff. They have taken the horse race approach to the process of how to make helping people find a party to vote interesting, entertaining and engaging.


I don’t know how long Race to the Beehive has been around, but the only reason I came across it was because I was on the More Political Headlines page trying to find an article for a university assignment. As I was scrolling down the page I came across the link for it:


So they haven’t done a great job promoting it. But is it any good?  It is simple to use. Once you start it, you get offered three quotes about each policy area:


As a highly politically engaged person, it was easy for me to guess which party each quote came from, but the quotes seem to be reasonably accurate portrayals of the positions. Once you click on the quote that you agree with, the horse of the corresponding party moves forward more than the others:


You even get a little banner telling you which party is leading. Or that they are neck and neck:


There are 10 questions in total, though on one of my runs through I ended up with National and Labour tied on the line and got an extra question about leadership styles to decide the “winner”, which is an interesting feature. Like the whole visual element of it, the last screen is a little predictable:


Race to the Beehive has taken the middle ground between Vote Compass’s highly serious and focused approach and On the Fence’s more relaxed, almost patronisingly funny approach. The fact that they have are using a single quote from each party as the method to choose the “answer” to each question i think makes it easier for non political people to use. Unlike On the Fence and Vote Compass, where you have to rate your level of agreement on a number of statements, simplicity is the key to Race to the Beehive.


This simplicity has been taken to an extreme with the inclusion of only three parties. I suspect there will be some parties who are not too happy about that. I am torn on how I feel about this. On the one hand if you are trying to help people figure out who to vote for, you should be including as many parties as you can. But on the other hand, if you want to keep the interface simple and the number of questions/options to a minimum, then you have to limit it. Is it better to make the process easier and more engaging, on the hope that it is going to encourage people to vote? I think the fact that it is being hosted by a media organisation, Stuff/Fairfax, increases the responsibility to be fair and to include as many of the parties as possible.


But that question is separate from the question of will people use this? Once again, I suspect we will see a lot of those who are already politically engaged using it to confirm their own views and there won’t  be many who use it for what it is intended for. Especially if the link to it is hidden on the politics more headlines page.