ECI Software that Works! OpenECI is designed by and for ECI campaigners
[Please note: this text was written in 2015. Both OCS have improved in the meantime]
Future European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) organisers take note. Finally, there is a campaigner and citizen-friendly alternative for collecting signatures online to the European Commission’s Online Collection System (OCS).
OpenECI is an ECI signature collection software developed by experienced ECI campaigners and IT experts Xavier Dutoit from the ECI Right2Water and Thomas Eitzenberger from the ECI End Ecocide, with the support of The ECI Campaign and Campact: Democracy in Action. It has been certified and was being used for the first time by the ECI Fair Transport Europe. Since then most of ECI signatures have been collected with this software. The idea for this software emerged out of a workshop organized by The ECI Campaign with the participation of all stakeholders from EU instiutions and civil society (see here).
The ability to collect supporters’ signatures online was a real innovation of the European Citizens’ Initiative. Unfortunately, until now, the only software approved for this purpose was the European Commission’s Online Collection System (OCS). When it was launched in 2012, it was riddled with bugs and designed for bureaucrats, not for campaigners or citizens. All ECI campaigns have complained of its shortcomings. It has cost some thousands of signatures and months of precious campaigning time.
Although it has since improved somewhat, the Commission’s OCS still does not meet the usability standards for modern online campaigning software. Among its design flaws, it makes ECI supporters go through multiple steps to sign an ECI, is not designed for mobile devices and makes it difficult for campaigners to monitor user activity. OpenECI is designed by campaigners for campaigners and offers a user-friendly design that includes:
- One step signature process (vs. the Commission’s OCS four-step process)
- Signature form easily embedded into campaign websites
- Inclusion of social media and channel/partner management
- Ability to use API to consult statistical data
- Simple method to export/decrypt signatures
- User-friendly error management
- Smartphone and tablet friendly design
- Option to preselect language and country by IP address
If you are preparing an ECI campaign and would like to learn more about using OpenECI software for ECI signature collection, please contact The ECI Campaign at email@example.com.
To see the difference between the Commission’s OCS and OpenECI, compare the online signature collection process for the ECI An end to front companies in order to secure a fairer Europe to that of the ECI Fair Transport Europe – in screen shots below.
Example 1: Commission’s Online Collection System (ECI End to Front Companies)
STEP 1: Click the “Support” button.
STEP 2: Select country.
STEP 3: Fill in all the requested personal data.
STEP 4: Finalise with an official signature identifier.