Speculative Tools for Learning about Politics

Cooper has just published the third in a series about Elections for UX Magazine. Below is an excerpt from the article “Speculative Tools for Learning about Politics” written by Joe Kappes. Read the full article on UX Magazine.

In this contentious election year, the news is full of hateful rhetoric that has bogged down social media with polemic hashtags like #BernieorBust, #shillary, and #neverTrump. With all this noise, it can be difficult to parse out what you really believe when it comes to the key issues and with whom you actually agree. For this reason, I was drawn to when one of my colleagues posted about it on Cooper’s Slack platform. Isidewith follows in the trend of political quiz sites that help people understand how aligned they are with certain politicians based on core “issues” and “beliefs.” It asks you to fill out a survey about things like social, economic, and foreign policy issues and tells you how closely your answers correlate with how politicians describe themselves. It then provides you with a number representing the percentage you align with each candidate. 

The promised clarity and simplicity of a single number to express affinity among many hugely complex issues finally compelled me to visit After spending a great deal of time with Isidewith–and getting a better idea about who I side with–I spent some time thinking about what function this tool fulfills, why it’s beneficial, and the ways in which future tools could build off and improve it. I asked myself if it really helped me better understand the issues and, if not, how it might have better fulfilled this function. This article, then, spends some time reflecting on the virtues of sites like this, and then outlines other ways that similar tools might help citizens confront issues in a more nuanced way.

Read all of Joe’s article here on UX Magazine.

Joe Kappes

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