Behind the scenes: the development of our AI-generated voting-advice-tool Kieswaizer

Behind the scenes: the development of our AI-generated voting-advice-tool Kieswaizer - Kieswaizer retrospective

23 februari 2024

Kieswaizer is a groundbreaking AI-driven voter advice tool that guides users in exploring their political preferences by answering personalized questions. The answers are compared to election programs of various political parties, resulting in a personalized list of parties that best align with the user's viewpoints. Developed by our software company for the general public, this product has provided insights into digital marketing, AI development, and achieved results. In this post, we will delve into this project, sharing outcomes and lessons from digital marketing to development and results.

Project introduction: Kieswaizer

Origin and mission of Kieswaizer

Kieswaizer emerged from the need to provide voters with transparent and clear insight into the political landscape. Our mission was to develop a user-friendly tool that makes the complexity of political programs easily accessible to users. We aimed to go beyond traditional voting guides by creating a system that can interpret user responses and provide intelligent recommendations. This allows voters to make decisions more aligned with their personal beliefs. Kieswaizer combines advanced AI software with an intuitive interface, making it an accessible source of information for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of politics. This aligns with our vision to simplify daily life using technology.

Unique features of our voting advice tool

Kieswaizer distinguishes itself from other voting advice tools through its advanced AI software. This technology enables us to dynamically adjust questions to the user. Another unique feature is the 'learning' aspect of our AI; the more people use Kieswaizer, the more accurate the voting advice could become. Privacy is paramount; we ensure that all user data is treated anonymously and securely. These features make Kieswaizer not only a voting guide but also provide insight into the broader political spectrum. This makes Kieswaizer a powerful tool for both voters and political analysts.

Structure and functionalities of Kieswaizer

The structure of Kieswaizer is designed with the user in mind. It presents the user with 10 questions generated based on election programs. Users can answer in their own words through a chat format, resulting in a more personalized recommendation. This allows users to express nuance, which AI then compares with information in the election programs. Additionally, users can read summaries on the website. The tool also includes a section where users can provide feedback, helping us continually improve the AI software.

Retrospective on the development journey

First encounter with AI and prompt engineering

Integrating AI into Kieswaizer brought our team face-to-face with the real challenges of prompt engineering. This technique involves 'feeding' the AI with information and questions in a way that produces the best results. Striking the right balance in question complexity was a challenge to ensure the AI could learn and evolve correctly. The AI had to analyze political programs and match them with user responses, requiring a precise and extensive training process. We tested various AI models to find the most effective architecture for our application. The knowledge and experience gained with AI and prompt engineering have been invaluable for future projects and contributed to making Kieswaizer an innovative and groundbreaking product.

AI choice: Google versus OpenAI

When deciding which AI software to use for Kieswaizer, two giants stood at the top of the list: Google and OpenAI. Both platforms offered advanced AI capabilities, but our decision boiled down to specific needs for our voting advice tool. We analyzed factors such as natural language processing quality, capacity for learning and adapting to user data, processing large amounts of text from PDFs, and integration capabilities with our existing systems. Additionally, factors like cost, technology accessibility, and support played a role. After thorough research, we chose an AI solution that best aligned with our vision of user-friendliness and accuracy, OpenAI.

Considerations in backend and frontend development

In the development of Kieswaizer, both backend and frontend considerations played a crucial role. For the backend, it was crucial to build a robust and scalable architecture capable of processing and analyzing large amounts of data. We had to ensure that our servers could handle peak loads, especially during election periods. On the frontend, the focus was on creating an intuitive and accessible user experience. The design had to be not only responsive and attractive but also inclusive for all users, regardless of their technological skills. We utilized modern frameworks and best practices to ensure a fast and secure application. These considerations ensured that Kieswaizer is both internally robust and user-friendly.

Challenges of digital marketing

During the rollout of Kieswaizer, we encountered various challenges in digital marketing. Reaching our target audience in a saturated market required a strategic approach. We had to ensure that our product stood out and gained trust among potential users. This meant investing in SEO to ensure Kieswaizer was found on relevant search terms such as 'ai software' and 'voter guide'. The content had to be not only informative and persuasive but also appealing to a broad audience. We also employed social media campaigns to stimulate engagement and promote the tool through user testimonials and success stories. Even our CEO, Susan Pesman, contributed an interview to Binnenlands Bestuur; read the (Dutch) article here. Despite these challenges, we developed a successful digital marketing strategy that brought Kieswaizer into the spotlight, especially through attention on forums such as Reddit, read here and Fok, read here

Evaluation and results

Website visit statistics

After the launch of Kieswaizer, we observed a significant growth in website visits. The statistics speak for themselves, with hundreds of unique users, surpassing our expectations. The average time spent on the site was noteworthy; users dedicated considerable time to answering questions and reviewing their results. This suggests that Kieswaizer provides valuable insights that users are willing to explore. We also achieved a low bounce rate of 10%, indicating the relevance and attractiveness of our tool. These statistics confirm the effectiveness of our digital marketing strategies and the appeal of our AI-driven voting guide.

Most notable parties in the top 3 results

Data from Kieswaizer reveals that some political parties consistently appeared in the top 3 results for users. The top 3 parties chosen by our voters were: GroenLinks, Partij van de Arbeid, Democraten 66, and Volt. These parties stood out for their clear stances and the relevance of their themes resonating with today's voters. However, when comparing these results with the election outcome, it appears that people prioritize issues like the current climate crisis but may not necessarily let it dictate their vote. For us as Kieswaizer developers, it underscores the need to continue training and refining our AI software to provide accurate and representative advice to users in the next election period.

Conclusions for future projects

The development and launch of Kieswaizer were a learning process for our team. We gained valuable insights, particularly in the areas of AI software and digital marketing. A key conclusion is that close collaboration between development teams and marketing is essential for the success of a product. Additionally, we learned that it's crucial to remain flexible and be willing to adjust our approach based on user feedback. The importance of data privacy and ethical considerations in AI development also emerged strongly. For future projects, we will incorporate these learnings to continue improving the quality and effectiveness of our products. This retrospective gives us confidence that we are on the right path and provides a solid foundation for future innovations and collaborations with AI within 9to5 software.

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