Flagpost is an online platform that enabled voting, discussion, and tagging of design submissions during the New Zealand Flag Consideration Process. It was used to facilitate informed decisions, dialogue, and open collaboration at a national scale. Visitors to the site use tags to help find designs relevant to their interests and values, vote to give their preferences, and contribute to discussion threads that enable critique and ongoing conversations around specific designs.
If the New Zealand Flag Consideration Process of 2015 were to be a democratic design process, then inclusion and dialogue surrounding the design submissions needed to be facilitated. The New Zealand flag debate is a conversation about everyone and we believed that everyone should be a part of it. Flagpost was conceived in response to this, and looked to offer a more inclusive, conversational and design-orientated way in which to participate in the process.
The home page gives an overview of recent activity from users. Flag designs are also filterable by ‘popular’, ‘newest’, or ‘random’, enabling access to fresh and active content for visitors.
Tags provide an easy way for visitors to search through the thousands of designs offered up by the public. These can be multiple tags, and aim to help people find designs relevant to their interests, values or simply graphic elements.
On individual flag pages, users can vote for the design if they wish, and provides a way to incite dialogue around particular designs. Tags are a selection of keywords employed as a search tool but also as a way for users to ‘texture’ design submissions by offering up their perceptions of designs.
Most importantly, Flagpost features discussion threads for every design submission. These enable users to comment on designs, both textually and visually, or respond to comments by other users.
Over two months of the Flag Consideration Process, Flagpost had reached 12,000 visitors, with over 150,000 page views. Within the content generated by users on the site there were 950 comments over 342 flags made by a total of 1268 unique users.
Flagpost was also used as an exemplar to Parliament by New Zealand Green Party MP Gareth Hughes. Gareth had presented the project as an exemplar of modern and inclusive democratic engagement through digital design and technologies. This formed a central plank in his argument that saw the passing of his Bill to include Red Peak as a fifth flag option for the public to vote on.