A woman carrying a baby on her back votes during presidential elections in Freetown

A new election reporting platform, Pollwatchng.com, has joined the already saturated list of election technologies tracking Nigeria’s general elections.

Pollwatchng is basically a website that allows users submit situation reports about the electoral process in their locale. Users can upload images with a description/caption/comment and then submit by choosing the mood the picture is expressing. Users can choose from either “peaceful” or “irregularity”.

Pollwatchng creators, Vanguard for Credible Elections (VCE) told Techcabal that the platform is building on the success of osunpollreport.com website (currently off-host) and mobile app which were deployed for similar purpose during the Osun State gubernatorial poll last year.

The benefit of this platform is immediately obvious in that it can help Nigerians on the platform know the situation of the election across the country, real time, but it’s possible that Pollwatchng have missed the boat.

The website is coming barely days before the elections. In a space where early birds like NigeriaDecides and iWitness are still grasping for traction,  it’s hardly possible that it will onboard enough users to get a representative mood of the elections.

Moreover, Pollwatchng.com is hardly intuitive. From the few user generated reports currently available on the website – which includes sultry selfies and quirky memes -, it’s apparent those presently on the network don’t understand how it works. I was lost for the first few minutes myself. A quick “about” page or a brief “how it works” will make all the difference; help users interact better with the platform.

And for a platform that will naturally thrive via mobile, it’s rather counterintuitive that a website is being promoted over a mobile app. VCE said they “were keen to ensure that this tool was readily available for all mobile users across all platforms [hence] we specifically built a mobile website rather than a mobile app”.

To Pollwatchng’s credit though, the website renders decently both on the PC and mobile. The website is minimal and bareboned presenting only the very essential details, with an uncomplicated registration process – notably devoid any identifying information. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the uptake on the platform.

Image via: ifes.org

Gbenga Onalaja Author

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