Apps for Public Engagement – Testing the ‘Flashpoll’ app

Smartphones are now ubiquitous, making it possible to connect with the internet permanently and without hindrance. But can they be used to create a climate of public participation? Dr Carolin Schröder and Anna Schuster (both from Technische Universität Berlin) used an app – Flashpoll – to test what does and doesn’t work, and found that various factors can influence how high participation is when it comes to their local home, work, and educative communities.

FlashPoll is designed for location-based polling and instant feedback on various issues that come up in an urban development context. The geofence can be designed for each poll separately, and consequently limits the group of potential participants to those physically entering a specific area with their smartphones at least once during the poll.

The researchers discuss four key points worth considering based on their findings:

  1. (Public) Awareness is key to a successful poll: people need to know there is a poll if you want high response rates
  1. Individual motivations to participate must be taken into consideration: is the topic of individual interest?
  1. Privacy is certainly an issue: the initial step of downloading and installing an app may be an obstacle to individual participation.
  1. Location-based polling is context-related: an immediate physical nearness seems to inlfuence response rates

To find out how they tested the app we recommend reading the full original article here:

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