Digestible Democracy

Digestible Democracy challenge

Digestible Democracy:  Local democracy needs to involve the widest range of people and yet the format of reports and the use of jargon puts off all but the most dedicated.  How can we present local decision making so it’s less obscure like modern jazz, and more popular, like rock and roll?


What we did at our Local Democracy Maker Day (1)

Simon in the Digestible Democracy group
A group of us looked at how to focus information around things that people are most interested in. This group suggested a dashboard that could act as a barometer of local interests, both for individuals and as a way of identifying trends in neighbourhoods. The idea is that “you don’t just like things, you like things in varying degrees”. Our attitudes to things and what matters to us changes over time, so a Yes / No option for picking what you’re interested in doesn’t really cover it.

The group suggested using some sort of scale to define people’s interests and build up a profile over time. They’d also identify patterns and use that to improve decisions. For example, if lots of people in an area suddenly became more interested in a particular issue, the dashboard would ask: “Do  you know, you’re the 10th person in your area who has shown an interest in that recently – why is that?”

Things we made:


What we did at our Local Democracy Maker Day (2)

Lucy in the digestible democracy groupA second group of us looked at the layout of information about decisions – how can we make sure that when people want to get involved, they can find the information they’re looking for? The group explored all the different kinds of information that we could bring together, including information about how and why we make decisions, and how someone can get involved and change the emphasis of the decision. On the day the group guided us through lots of examples of useful information and presented wireframes of a simple interface to enable users to see the answers to: What’s new? What can I do? When do I find out? and Where’s the deeper information if I want it?

Things we made:

What do they want to know for? notes