“No longer would users have to fiddle with complex ________s for _________s and ________s. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’ ”
When Steve Jobs said that to Walter Isaacson, he was obsessing over remotes, DVD players and cable channels.
If he’d lived to conjure a similar breakthrough in the User eXperience of politics, would he have been as thrilled? We surely would be.
I imagine a small-d demOS as a Steve-compliant operating system for democracy in general, unlike Mark Pyncus and Reid Hoffman. They were pilloried for proposing WTF project billboards as the beginning of a new UX for policy development.
Let’s imagine what a real demOS might be, serving people we should think of as Policy Users.
A Policy Store UX
Diana C. doesn’t call Howard Schultz when she wants a macchiato, so a proper demOS will connect her to her local policy store as seamlessly as possible: like any store, it’s whichever political representative she already knows or can discover most easily. “Let’s see… Jeff Russell? Surely not ‘Jack’! Ah, here — Jamie Raskin.” When she finds a policy store, her barista notes the order on her cup and remembers her for next time:
Like any store, Diana C. assumes she can return for help with all her policy needs, as she would to SBUX for scones and iced green tea. Like her, Steve Jobs wouldn’t see why she should have to ‘fiddle with complex phone trees or web forms for road repair updates and news about Maryland’s Carbon Tax bill.’
The people who so enthusiastically scolded Mark Pincus and Reid Hoffman just know how politics works and always must. To those of us who have followed the nature of scientific revolutions since Vannevar Bush and, as instructively, the clueless seers, our only certainty is that politics will surely change. When we touch it, we know it surely has to.
But how? Only with Cloud-based Influence as a Service, IaaS. Few political experts know that Software as a Service, SaaS, is a thing. Not only is it pervasive, its architecture and design is now fairly settled. Microsoft updated LinkedIn’s UX to look like Facebook so it would be obvious to all. Let’s call the look & feel Fauxbook.
So that’s what’s on the table. Our little team has all of this functionality built. All we need to do is package it up with a Fauxbook User Interface and start launching policy stores. Maybe we’ll start with Jack Russell.