Voter turnout among 18-24 year olds hovers between 20 and 30% in the United States compared to more than 50% for the general voting age population. In the era of fake news, we wondered whether students felt empowered to find political information to engage with.
We conducted surveys of students currently enrolled in college to determine how they obtained their political news and what the benefits and barriers were in these methods. Through qualitative evaluation of these surveys, we determined that students seek political information in two ways: 
1. Social Media
This category includes videos, pictures, quotes, and even articles themselves (often provided with commentary) on Facebook and Twitter. Even when articles are provided, this category often included informal or less-established news sources like BuzzFeed or fake news sources.
Students found these sources easily accessible, ubiquitous, and entertaining, but also highly unreliable and prone to bias. Thus, while students spent lots of time engaging these sources, they found it hard to internalize the information they received.
2. Traditional News Sources
Established papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post constitute traditional news sources. Students tended to trust these sources on the basis of their reputations and seemed to put stock into the "establishment" of news media. 
However, these sources are perceived as dry, boring, and hard to read. Students were easily discouraged by the prevalent political jargon and could not motivate themselves to develop a habit of reading these sources despite their perceived trustworthiness. 
We created an affinity diagram based on students' survey responses of existing solutions and found three unanimous pain points:
1. a perceived lack of unbiased articles
2. lengthy news articles full of political jargon were discouraging
3. a lack of trust in articles shared on social media
We also found trends which helped create guiding principles for our solution:
1. students cared deeply about ease-of-access and convenience 
2. students were often mobile 
3. students were rarely willing to commit the time to parsing complicated articles themselves.
We created dozens of discrete ideas but based on the trends we observed, ultimately determined that a mobile app would satisfy both the convenience and on-the-go concerns. 
We conducted three rounds of iteration, soliciting feedback after each round to guide the next iteration. 
For the first iteration, we created low-fidelity sketches and a paper prototype and laid out a storyboard for users to obtain feedback. 
In the second iteration, we fleshed out some of the features and were forced to reconsider others. We also created an internal set of heuristics to identity and rank design problems encountered by users in order to prioritize them. To test with users, we created low-fidelity prototypes using Balsamiq.
For the third iteration, we developed a high-fidelity prototype which addressed the heuristic failures gleamed from the previous iteration. Several features were rebuilt, reconceptualized, or dropped altogether based on feedback in this and the prior iteration. The final feature set is below.
Subtle, consistent, and pervasive use of coded accent colors cue users into the potential bias of an article without any prior experience with the source or its material. Users can confidently navigate complex topics and contextualize what they're reading.
This does not require extra curation or the creation of some ambiguously-independent commission to determine what sources are unbiased. Users are allowed to make the determination themselves without needing to do deep research on historical bias.
Each article provides deep context about which political ideologies are dominant based on the proportions of highlights, as well as more information about the source's bias. Users can use this information to confidently detect bias on multiple levels.
This view also surfaces the most-highlighted quotes from the article, allowing users to quickly absorb the most important parts while retaining the ideological context of the quotes. This makes articles digestible and easy to parse.
Users are encouraged to engage with the content by highlighting pieces they find interesting or important. The net number of highlights are reflected in the quote's lightness, and the color is determined by assigning users probable political ideologies based on their engagement histories.
 Low-confidence users benefit from being able to quickly find and contextualize key pieces of information and make stronger connections with the material.
Poli encourages youth engagement with politics by lessening the friction to consuming news and increasing trust and context about the sources. In the era of fake news, empowering users to make their own decisions about the trustworthiness of articles and allowing users to get bite-sized highlights encourages users to consume information and insulate themselves from misleading sources.
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