When it comes to building mobile apps for significant political events, Seattle-based startup Taqtile is a seasoned incumbent at this point.
Taqtile has once again built the official Democratic National Convention app that users will turn to when the event gets under way on Monday in Philadelphia. The 5 1/2-year-old company previously developed the official app for the 2012 DNC in Charlotte, N.C., and the 2013 app for President Obama’s second inauguration.
“We had a working relationship with the DNC from the last election cycle,” said co-founder Dirck Schou. “From my perspective we were a logical provider.”
The DNC app in 2012 took the better part of a year for Taqtile to construct, Schou said. The Obama Inauguration app went much quicker, coming together in about four weeks because it was basically a reformatting of that previous work.
This time around, Schou said the work took more than a month.
“It was a total rebuild, given new sensibilities and methodologies,” Schou said. “A couple of the main [DNC] contacts were the same this year … but they learned a lot during the last go around, and their goals probably changed accordingly.”
What can users expect to find in the app? Here are some of the highlights, spelled out on AT&T’s Convention website:
- Robust convention content: From the casual observer scrolling through headlines to a political junkie glued to every second, the app will have in-depth and up-to-date videos, speeches, photos and more.
- 360-degree livestream: In addition to a standard main camera feed, the app will feature 360-degree views from vantage points unavailable anywhere else.
- Seamless social integration: During key convention moments, real-time pre-populated tweets will surface on the home page for instant sharing.
- Map overlays: In-app maps display convention venues, Philadelphia watch parties, and of course, all 57 Donkeys Around Town.
- Convention essentials: Speech transcripts, schedules, maps and everything else a delegate needs to navigate their convention experience.
- Philadelphia flavor: A “Best of Philadelphia” section highlights ways to make the most out of a visit to the city.
“I think it’s a great app,” Schou said. “It’s basic. It’s meant for a very specific thing; it’s meant for the people that are going to the event, but it’s also meant for people who are not in front of their TV or in front of their computers and they want to watch the live videos. It’s a participation tool for people that are either there in person or that are consuming it on their mobile devices.”
Even though the Republican National Convention is in the rear view, a GOP website spells out some similar features that were available to users of its app in Cleveland last week.
For Schou and Taqtile, building apps may still be part of the core business, but the company, which has bootstrapped to 85 employees worldwide, is clearly setting sights on other platforms, including its work as one of the firms in the Microsoft HoloLens Agency Readiness Program. Taqtile’s augmented reality software was used to develop demos for the PGA Tour, which GeekWire recently tested, and which VP of product development Kelly Malone showed off at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto earlier this month.
“Our focus going forward is in new modes of digital engagement,” Schou said. “Maybe the next election cycle we’ll be building something from an augmented reality perspective.”