October 2015

Social sharing campaign to increase youth voter turnout.

In the months before Canada’s 2015 election, Rick Mercer’s team reached out to ecentricarts (long-standing partners for web projects, from rickmercer.com and beyond). Mercer is a widely known advocate of voting - especially for younger demographics - and wanted to promote the cause for that series’ season premiere (shortly before the election).

Inspired by the Straight Outta Somewhere campaign for the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, Mercer’s team wanted the ability for users to easily upload and resize an image, overlay “I will vote” text, and share to Facebook and Twitter, with a link calling back to the starting screen.

Paired with a rockstar app dev, we built out #VoteNation from scratch, using canvas to render, allow adjustments to, and composite the overlayed image. A little help came from Hammer.js, for control of gestures and detection, but the more complex EXIF handling (for image orientation, rotation, and positioning on upload) and canvas layering were built in nearly vanilla JS (with a touch of assistance from jQuery). After some soft launch scaling issues, performance was reworked (front and back end) and the site was deployed on Azure cloud servers.

In The Wild - Watching a project’s analytics numbers soar while premiering live on high a viewership (for Canada, anyway) series is incredibly exciting. Thanks to earlier performance tweaks and a shift to the cloud, the site scaled beautifully for massive waves of traffic.
Device Support - Since the campaign was aimed at a mobile-oriented audience, the resize and positioning controls needed to work cleanly across screen sizes and input controls. While we didn’t get a chance to implement pinch zooming (+/- buttons are cross-device functional), the drag method is well supported for touch and mouse.
Facebook - During VoteNation’s pre-election run, Facebook reached out to the Rick Mercer team with a partnership offer for promoting and spreading the campaign. After a brief review of our build by Facebook developers, the site was heavily promoted across the social media platform.

For a closer look into the campaign’s initiative, check out this CBC News clip with Mercer explaining VoteNation.

#VoteNation’s campaign is over, but you can still check out the site