Voting or ranking systems are popular tools used to collect stakeholder feedback relating to something; an event, idea, film choice, potential candidate, etc. If used on a website, site owners are able to post content and, using a voting tool, provide the opportunity to site visitors to rank or vote for the content they see. This information can be extremely useful to the site owner who can then make a decision to act based on the stakeholder feedback.

A popular example of a ranking or voting system can be found on the reddit website. To begin, a user submits content to the website. Other reddit users then vote the submission "up" or "down", which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site's pages. This system allows the user significant influence over the flow of information on the site.

I got to thinking about how we could use this functionality while attending the 2013 CANHEIT conference. Session participants could anonymously post a question to a session presenter via a website. These questions were displayed on a large screen throughout the session and other session participants could then view the question and “up vote” it or “down vote” it. The question(s) with the most votes moved to the top of the question list, and those with the least fell to the bottom. This Q&A style voting system could be used on campus during presentation, conferences, etc.

Live Q&A voting screen

I could also see the value of using a voting system to prioritize Waterloo Content Management System (WCMS) feature requests. The WCMS development team is currently in possession of 70 unique feature requests. Which request should be tackled first? How does that request get prioritized over the others? Who decides? A voting system would allow WCMS users to vote for the feature(s) they feel would be most beneficial for the system as a whole, or for a particular site.

How would you incorporate a voting or ranking system into your daily activities? Have you used a system you really liked? Let us know!

Thanks to our guest blogger, Natasha Jennings.

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