I published the initial version of the How They Voted app last week. Since then I have asked a couple of people to have a look at it and give me some feedback. The response has been pretty good. So I'm ready to go forward with developing the app further and building a community around it.
The community aspect of this project is very important for practical reasons:
- shared workload,
- pooling of ideas and resources,
- and driving the uptake of the app.
The real power of the community will be in ensuring the app remains non-partisan. The app should be a factual tool to increase political engagement in our country. Making public data more accessible is a primary goal of this app. This data is the source of truth for what is happening at the government
Currently the app uses the Oireachtas API dataset. The app harvests this data daily. The data is then normalised and stored for use by the client application.
Some of the ideas I have to develop this are:
Tagging and categorising of bills, motions and debates.
Summarising, in plain english, the content and context of the above.
Connecting Dáil activity to related media reports.
Building of services to pull data from the Oireachtas API and to transform that data for use in the app.
Full review of pipeline (currently handled by Github Actions).
Addition of features and app performance will be ongoing.
Tooling to help content creators.
Tonnes of things I haven't thought of yet…
The key thing needed at this stage is advice and direction on how to develop this idea into a useful tool. The app needs the backing of a strong community to manage and support it.