Improving usability the main motive for NGOs to create alternative to EC software
The ECI Campaign has unveiled ‘OpenECI’, a web-based solution for the collecting of signatures to support calls for European Commission legislation proposals, known as the European Citizens' Initiative. The software solution has been certified and is now being used by the European Citizens’ Initiative Fair Transport Europe. The NGO-built software is an alternative to the European Commission’s own Online Collection System (OCS).
OpenECI was announced in early December, in the blog of The ECI Campaign. The ECI signature collection software is being developed by experienced ECI campaigners and IT experts Xavier Dutoit and Thomas Eitzenberger, both members of The ECI Campaign.
The European Citizens' Initiative allows citizens to invite the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate. The EC is making its Online Collection System (OCS) available on Joinup.
NGO initially praised the OCS, as it would allow them to collect supporters’ signatures online. However, The ECI Campaign writes, the OCS is buggy. “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.”
OCS has been improved since, writes The ECI Campaign, but a feature comparison by the OpenECI developers still lists many problems. For example, the OCS software is difficult to combine with a campaign website, has a cumbersome log-in procedure, and is not mobile friendly. On its blog, The ECI Campaign illustrates the differences between the two solutions with screenshots.