Today we met with Kieran Stowers and Chris Nicholls, design students at Massey University, who have developed a website that aims to increase youth engagement with New Zealand elections. Kieran and Chris were among the passionate and talented group of participants at the EmpowerNZ workshop in August – so it was great to catch up and see what they are working on.

Their website – – provides an interactive tool for helping people figure out which political parties’ views align closest with their own. They designed a sheep that balances ‘on the fence’ and eats hay bales that represent various policy statements. The more of each hay bale the sheep eats, the more the user agrees with the statement. As a bit of fun this Friday night, we encourage you all to have a play around. It’s pretty cool and deservedly, ‘On the Fence’ is a finalist for ‘Best Interactive Design’ at the 2012 Best Awards run by The Designers Institute of New Zealand.

This project is an excellent demonstration of how visual communication and web design can be used to facilitate public engagement and interaction, particularly with a younger demographic. Kieran and Chris are currently working to develop their website further to encourage continued engagement between elections. We wish them well and look forward to seeing the results!