Hudson County is ready for the upcoming election on November 10 with new technological improvements for residents in the county.
Most notable is Hudson County’s updated mobile app by county clerk E. Junior Maldonado. The app is available for free on both iOS and Android.
The election app helps citizens with a variety of election-related tasks, including:
– Allow citizens to register to vote.
– Provide info on early voting.
– Allow people to request a vote by mail.
– Obtain info on party declaration.
– Access a calendar of important dates.
– View a list of candidates for senator.
– View samples of completed ballots.
– Receive more info on who’s running in the election.
– View election results from the past.
– Access a district map to see what district citizens are voting in.
– Find locations on where to vote.
“We believe that our investment will pay dividends for years to come by allowing the public an easier, more secure and transparent way of obtaining necessary and critical information.” said Hudson County Clerk, E. Junior Maldonado.
Hudson County staff plan to keep residents up to date as election day progresses with push notifications. Citizens can continue with their day as they received election notifications, keeping them engaged. With the mobile app, citizens don’t have to refresh a web browser or a social media page to stay informed; they can just use the app.
The Hudson County election app was built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform. Info Grove is equipped with a cloud-hosted content management system and allows county staff to independently update and add content to the mobile app. Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps.
Info Grove has many different ways to provide content in your mobile app. With over 20 modules to choose from, content can be configured in a variety of formats depending on the specific needs of the user.
Here we demonstrate a simple way to provide content in a mobile-first format by adding a “clickable” button on an individual page. By using this simple navigation trick, you will provide a better user experience to app users and keep them coming back for more.
How to Create Improved In-App Navigation with Plain Lists
Step One: Create a “Plain List” for your starting page.
Step Two: Add a single record to the plain list, such as a report, guide, or any relevant information. For this example, we’ve created a “2018 Annual Report.” From here you can add information, photos, videos, and relevant links.
Step Three: Create a new view, or, the landing page content. This will become the destination after the button is clicked. The second page can be a PDF list, an event schedule, a content HTML, or any other view in Info Grove. For this example, we created a “PDF List” view. After you created the second view, add the content (we uploaded PDFs to our list).
Step Four: Go to “Module Links” and create a new module link. The module link is the button that will take you from the plain list to your new landing page. Define your “from module” as the plain list item you’ve just created. Define your “to module” as the view and item you’ve just uploaded (for us, the PDF). Finish by defining your button title (the text the user will read when clicking on the button.)
Note: If you want to put the button on the bottom of the page, change the “group” to 9 or higher.
Step Five: Add the new content to your menu. From here you can either direct users to the entire plain list you just created, or, the single item in the list (ex: 2018 Annual Report.) If you want to add the single item, on menu management click “Add a record” and find the item you created.
Step Six: Drag and drop your item to the desired place and add an icon to complete the item.
Campaigns allow organizations to pre-configure an advocacy email for members to send in the mobile app. Emails can be sent to political representatives to encourage action in government.
The feature is designed to make grassroots advocacy campaigns as simple as possible in a mobile-first format. Associations can create multiple campaigns to run simultaneously while addressing different issues of need.
How to Create a Campaign
Step One: Create a new view under “Campaign”
Step One: Configure the campaign details (name, info, videos, photos, etc.) and at the bottom click “campaign action” and create the pre-configured email information. After you’ve created the email, edit the campaign link (this creates the button to click) and define your button title.
Step Three: Add the view to your menu and add a new icon (if needed)
Step Four: Send push notifications and take users directly to the campaign button.
Step Five: Members launch the campaign and can send an email in just a few minutes.
Tips for running a successful campaign:
1. Schedule a series of notifications over several days or weeks to maximize engagement.
2. After you create a new campaign, add it to the top of your menu to emphasize the call-to-action.
3. CC yourself or your organization’s email to see how many emails are sent by your members.
The Town of Arnprior, Ontario, with approximately 8,795 residents, has launched a mobile app to improve communication and engagement with citizens.
Available for free on both iOS and Android, Arnprior residents are now equipped with an on-the-go mobile application to perform daily tasks and navigate within the town.
“Arnprior is out front on this issue,” CAO Michael Wildman said. “So it’s all right there at your fingertips.”
The Town of Arnprior focused heavily on location-based engagement by providing automated notifications with “beacons” to notify residents. Residents will be notified when driving by the Arnprior & District Museum about the latest exhibits, for example. Or, while biking along Robert Simpson Park a message will encourage the user to learn about the upcoming concert in the park. These are just a few of the geographic-based notifications provided by the Town of Arnprior.
The app also encourages active mobility in the Town by including locations lists and information for healthcare facilities, parks, libraries, trails, parking lots, and municipal buildings.
Town staff plan to constantly update and add new content, such as the “Vote 2018” features that help citizens participate in its upcoming municipal election. Residents can view the schedule of events, register to vote, view registered candidates and view FAQs.
After the election commences, Arnprior staff can access the Info Grove backend, delete the election content, and add new features to keep the app fresh.
In order to facilitate two-way communication, the Town has added important information about council and committees, such as meeting calendars, the mayor and council list, agendas and meeting minutes, and a “request to speak” feature.
An important focus of the app was to help citizens complete real-world tasks. Citizens can access garbage and recycling schedules and view recreation schedules like public swimming or ice skating.
Lastly, citizens can view information on job opportunities, access festival and event details, and information on road closures and other emergency information.
“It is the wave of the future,” Mayor David Reid said about the Town’s new mobile app.
According to a study conducted by Google, people are 2x more likely to have a brand experience on a mobile device than they are to interact in person, through the TV or through a computer. – Forbes
Developing a mobile-first strategy requires a deep understanding of mobile consumer habits. Going mobile-first will likely require a new focus on content and a shift from the desktop or printed material. ComScore recently released its statistics on mobile usage trends. Here are 5 reasons to develop a mobile-first strategy today. All graphs and statistics are courtesy of ComScore.
1. Mobile users consume more than 2x minutes vs. desktop users:
When looking at each region’s desktop users and mobile users separately, mobile users universally consume more digital minutes per person – more than double in the majority of countries.
2. Smartphone takes the largest share of global digital minutes:
The smartphone is now the dominant platform in terms of total minutes across every market.
3. Apps account for 80% of mobile time:
When considering mobile (smartphone and tablet) minutes in isolation, they are overwhelmingly dominated by app consumption – over 80% of all mobile time in the markets considered for this report.
4. Size of ‘mobile only’ audience grew almost universally:
‘Mobile only’ audiences are now second only to ‘multi-platform’ users in the majority of markets, and appear to be increasing their reach among the overall population in many markets.
5. Mobile-Only usage within the Retail category has increased across all generations:
The statistics do not lie. Across all countries, age groups, and interests, we are seeing increased mobile usage. However, simply building a mobile app will not be enough to maximize return on investment. A mobile app must do more than “exist” on the app stores, the content will need updating and will require adjusting to reflect feedback and analytics. A mobile-first strategy requires adopting new ways of communicating and generating revenue.
Unifor is Canada’s largest private sector union with more than 315,000 members across the country working in every major sector of the Canadian economy.
Unifor has launched its new mobile app for union members and the public to stay connected in an easy to use digital platform. The app is available for free on both iOS and Android and operates in both French and English. Primarily, the app focuses on the information most relevant to local Unifor activists, including breaking news, priority solidarity campaigns, and a calendar of events.
Unifor runs advocacy campaigns, such as “Support Local 597! Send a letter to Dwight Ball” or “Universal Pharmacare” and plans to use the app to gain public momentum. A series of targeted push notifications, based on union sectors, member status, and geographic location, can be sent to members across the country in seconds. Union members have immediate access to campaign links and can send an advocacy email in minutes.
The mobile app also includes a breaking news section, which is automatically updated on an ongoing basis. Unifor members can access the latest union news in seconds, making staying informed faster and more convenient.
“Unifor has a comprehensive online presence. This new tool will help activists and allies stay up-to-date on campaigns and get more involved,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
UNIFOR brings a modern approach to unionism: adopting new tools, involving and engaging members, and looking for new ways to develop the role and approach of unions to meet demands in the 21st century.
While the Unifor website remains the most complete source of news and resources about the union’s broad range of activities, the mobile app is designed to be the “at-a-glance” digital tool for staying engaged.
“Members have told us they want easy access to news they can use about their union, on their mobile phones and we have delivered,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President in charge of the Local Union Task Force.
The Unifor app was built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform. Info Grove allows Unifor staff to independently add and edit content in the backend CMS. Staff can set geo-fences, add banner ads, and create new campaigns with the content management system. Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps.
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is a non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Download the app for Android and iOS today!
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute mobile app is the touchstone resource for informed, non-partisan commentary on Canadian federal public policy. The mobile app is available for free on iOS and Android.
The app provides Canadian opinion leaders, decision makers, and concerned citizens with timely access to the best ideas on vital Canadian issues including national security, global affairs, fiscal policy, innovation, natural resource management, Indigenous rights and criminal justice, to name just a few. Along with quick and easy access to videos, commentary and podcasts, and social media integration, the app is the best way to receive upcoming MLI event notices.
Also included in the MLI mobile app is a list of institute experts with contact information and biographies, and PDF downloads for all recent MLI Inside Policy Magazine.
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute mobile app was built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform.
Info Grove is an easy-to-use mobile app and content management system for organizations and government bodies. Info Grove allows non-technical individuals to access and edit app content using the cloud-hosted CMS.
Over the last little while, we have had a lot a folks approaching us with an idea to build an Uber of “Insert Market here”. All of them very good ideas. Now we are not about to share those ideas with you (we sign strict NDAs with our customers) but what we will discuss here are some of the common aspects these ideas have and also some of the common challenges.
The Uber Concept
Well unless you have been living under a rock or living in Vancouver where Uber is still not allowed, Uber needs no introduction. The peer-to-peer ride service has revolutionized the transportation industry (much to the chagrin of taxi companies) and demonstrated the power of the web and crowdsourcing allowing to tie customers with locally sourced providers in a very efficient way. You install the app, create an account, and voila, you have a fleet of drivers ready to drive you anywhere at a fraction of the costs that a normal taxi would charge you. All transactions are handled by the service with no physical money being exchanged by the end users. As you can imagine, this delivery model can be applied to many other industries. For the purpose of this example, let’s imagine a Uber service designed to help you find local dog walkers. Your dog needs to go for a stroll, you fire up an app and find people near you that don’t mind walking an extra dog for a fee. They come and pick up your dog, walk it (and clean the stuff), and bring it back to you. Once the dog is returned to you, you don’t even need to pay them directly. The service handles it. Simple enough right? Unfortunately not so. Let’s dive into why.
All the Uber like services have some very common aspects that need to considered when designing the service:
A Customer App
A Supplier App
Locally Sourced Providers/Customers
Time Sensitive Behaviour
Kind of goes with saying that a service like that would need an app. Now don’t get me wrong, some services such as Craigslist and Kijiji have been very successful as desktop applications but the convenience and ease of use of an app coupled with the ability to use a reliable GPS signal within have really enabled Uber to explode like it did. The key here is that our app needs to be able to easily display the suppliers that are available, their rates, available times, and their details. Maybe they only walk small dogs or big dogs.
The supplier app is for the other side of the fence and is often forgotten. The app allows our dog walkers to see a list of customers that are requesting to have their dogs walked, the type of dogs, how many, and their schedule. The user interface may have some common aspects with the customer app but in general will differ quite a bit. Suppliers will need to have buttons/controls to specify when they are available and when they are not, specify when they are on a job or not, have the ability to view job requests and accept or reject them. All things that a customer would not have to deal with.
Locally Sourced Suppliers/Customers
For both the Customer app and the Supplier app, it is vital for the Suppliers and Customers respectively to be locally sourced. If you live in San Francisco and are looking to have your dog walked, it doesn’t help you if someone from Arkansas sees your request. In fact, it probably hinders you as your request may be buried by hundreds of requests from another more popular location.
Time Sensitive Behaviour
When looking for a supplier to fulfill your request, you typically need to have it done within a certain time frame. Now dog walking may have a more repeatable nature compared to requiring a car ride which tends to be more ephemeral but in general, you are looking for someone to handle your request sooner rather than later or within a very specific window.
Although these type of services are called peer-to-peer since they involve direct connection between customers and suppliers without involvement from a supervisory body, they are (for most) in fact, very much centralized services. If that wasn’t the case, it would be difficult (although not impossible) for the service to collect its fees. Again with Uber, customers and drivers don’t exchange money directly. It all flows through Uber allowing them to take their cut. Moreover, administrators must be able to oversee how the service is running and see logs of requests, services rendered, so on to help with customer service or any refunds or conflict resolutions.
Chicken and the Egg
So, we have a good idea, we will help customers find dog walkers. We put all the pieces in place, the customer app and the supplier app are on the respective app stores, we have our backend services all fired up and we launch our service. What happens day one? Nothing. Why? No customer is willing to download the app because they are no dog walkers and no dog walkers are willing to download the app because they are no customers. As you can see we have a pretty big chicken and the egg problem. Unfortunately this service is not one that can grow organically one customer at a time. We need to start with a critical mass. How can we resolve that? There are a couple of ways.
We can pay to run an ad during the Superbowl to advertise our service which should get a whole bunch of people signed up all at once and we are up and running. All good; however, beside the cost of running the ad (7 figures), we better hope our service is foolproof; otherwise, customers and suppliers will run away very quickly if they find our service to not function properly.
The simpler way (and the way Uber took) is to pick a city that we understand well and only deploy with that city and then do some advance leg work to seed the service with both customers and suppliers. Perhaps we tell dog walkers that we guarantee them some customers within X amount of days or we make the service free to customers for the first X days and advertise heavily. Most scenarios involve an investment in time and money (usually the latter) to get the service up and running. Once we got our first city up and running, we can then look to expand to a second city, so on, so forth, and eventually the cost to capture a new city gets cheaper and cheaper as words gets out about the service and we don’t need to advertise as much or discount our service as much to get people to sign up.
As you probably gathered, launching our dog walking service is not going to be on the cheap side. We need to develop 2 apps, an administrator interface and server infrastructure, and finally we need to make a big investment into securing suppliers and customers day one to get our service up and running. So how much are we talking about here? Well in our experience (we have actually launched such a service called Questogo), we are easily looking at 6 figures. Yes that’s a number with 5 zeros after. There is a reason why there aren’t too many competitors for Uber as the technology itself is not earth shattering. If it was cheap, anyone could replicate the model and enter cities where Uber is not in yet and capture it first. Lyft is Uber’s direct competitor and it is probably a safe bet that Lyft is likely more popular in some cities than others.
Can You Walk the Walk?
Now we are not trying to discourage you in building such service (if you want to build a service to walk dogs, you are more than welcome to use our idea). The services do offer some great benefits and really unlock the power of the web and mobile phones. However, you have to be ready to walk the walk and come with a full wallet.
The City of Lethbridge has released its new mobile app for citizens and visitors to explore parks and recreation within the city. The Lethbridge Parks app is where users will find information on parks, playgrounds, pathways and other outdoor activities in the city.
Available for free on both iOS and Android, the new mobile app demonstrates a mobile-first approach to active engagement within the City of Lethbridge.
The mobile app allows users to access a wide variety of city information in a convenient mobile format. The majority of content is available offline, meaning users do not need a data or a wifi connection in order to access information.
Lethbridge Parks strongly encourages active engagement with city facilities and public spaces, and the new app will make it easier for citizens who aren’t aware of the opportunities to get engaged.
According to the City website, Lethbridge Parks offer many benefits to residents – they connect citizens to the city’s past, help to keep citizens healthy, make them happy and are good for the environment.
Here are some of the top features in the mobile app:
Trails & Pathways
Synced with Google Maps, users can avoid the busy streets and opt to travel via the cities large network of trails and pathways.
Parks & Recreation
The app provides a list of all parks, green spaces, playgrounds, sports fields, recreation sites, and sites of interest. Users can view the list alphabetically, sort by distance, or search by keyword. Also, users can switch from a list to a map to provide a spatial perspective.
Once a user finds a place of interest, they can click on it and learn more about the space. For example, citizens can learn whether or not a playground has a public washroom, if it’s wheelchair accessible, and learn about the playground material and surface.
If citizens want to visit the space, they can quickly get directions via Google Maps. Or, they can click on the myRIDE feature, which provides a directory of modes of public transportation in the City of Lethbridge.
To help facilitate two-way communication, the mobile app allows citizens to report a service request in and around the city. Citizens can report problems such as graffiti, potholes, or broken equipment.
The app connects users to city news, via an automatically synced RSS feed.
Parks and Rec Guide
The City of Lethbridge recreation and culture guide is a monthly publication that promotes activities, programs, and services for the citizens of Lethbridge. Through the app, citizens have access to the PDF documents to review.
The app allows citizens to access all City of Lethbridge social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.
The City of Lethbridge mobile app was built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform. Info Grove is a combination of a mobile app and a cloud-hosted content management system.
Info Grove allows City staff with no technical background to make edits within the app and add new content with ease.
Staff can create new buttons and content for temporary events, update resources, and adapt to the opinions of the citizens.
The City of Lethbridge will be able to send push notifications to update citizens regarding emergencies or facility breakdowns.
Lastly, Info Grove is equipped with geo-fence and beacon technology. The City of Lethbridge will be able to leverage this to create spatial-based triggers to notify users when entering a park or recreation facility, if relevant.