DelegatePal – Easy Resourceful MUN Research Tool

Guest post from the team behind

What inspired DelegatePal?

The internet has made an unprecedented amount of information available. Google has made this information more accessible. Such a framework has worked well for simple queries like “what’s the weather like today” or “how old is Obama”, but for more complex queries—those concerning research, especially MUN research, the results are far from optimum. Google’s feed like presentation leaves us with relevant but limited information. As a result, delegates doing their research have to spend hours, even weeks, looking for information let alone interpreting and using that information.

Enter DelegatePal.

DelegatePal makes information presentable for those involved in MUN. Simply put, It has everything in one place. From information relating to your country to UN resolutions on your topic, DelegatePal is easily MUN’s most resourceful research tool. At the time of writing this (less than six days since we’ve launched), we have had thousands of users using DelegatePal, several of them accessing it almost every day to prepare for upcoming conferences. We also have an email list with hundreds of users. Note – not a single penny has been spent on advertising.

What can you do with DelegatePal?

Broadly, the website has 2 main components – the “Research” tool and the “E-binder”, both of which will be explained in succession. The research tool has 8 “cards” that perform distinct functions:

Country Profile

With this card, you can get key facts on a country, useful links directing you to credible sources, and latest headlines on the chosen country.

Topic Background

You can type in any topic (usually the issue you are presented with in a conference) and get a summary, keywords, latest headlines, related videos and other useful categorized links associated with the topic. Be sure to restrict your search to keywords to get more accurate results. You can even find your country’s relationship with the topic by simply typing country name + topic (example – “China and human trafficking).

Resolution Search

This is our instant search card where you can type in any topic and immediately see related resolutions from the General Assembly, Security Council and reports of the Secretary General. If no results show up, then there are no resolutions or reports that have the words you typed in, in their title. We had to design our own search algorithm for this card because the UN’s search feature was ineffective in finding related resolutions.

UN Directory

Simply a directory with links to everything under the UN

Treaties and Conventions

This card has a directory of all international treaties and conventions categorized by topic. By clicking a treaty/convention, you can get a brief summary as well as key details. By clicking the “alliances” topic, you can find out military and bilateral/multilateral trade alliances.

NGO Directory

A list of NGOs grouped by area of specialization.

Latest Headlines

The latest international political headlines brought to you by Google News, Reuters and the UN.

Tips and Strategies

A database linking to articles that could improve your performance in conferences.

Team behind DelegatePal

DelegatePal was started by us, the Eledath brothers – Bassim and Fadil. We have a history of working together on side projects like MaverickYouth(.com). DelegatePal took us six months of active effort to build. Our complementary skills – one being active in the MUN scene and the other being a tech geek – helped us a lot. Once we had a prototype ready we tested it with a group of MUNers. Several revisions later, we reached what we believed to be a launch-worthy service.

Technology used

The website uses AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) to bring an overall better experience to the user. It allows us to “lazy-load” the website, meaning that the user will only ever load a part of the web-app if he/she intends to use it, making the page load around 3 times faster than otherwise. The design is designed from the ground-up to be responsive in order to bring a comfortable user experience regardless of device. The website’s architecture is server-less, drastically reducing costs and uses a panoply of APIs instead, such as Google’s Drive API for the E-Binder and an RSS to JSON API to use various online feeds in our website. At the time of writing this article, the website has over 3500 lines of code. When the user opens the website, however, all of that code is minified and compressed by our CDN (Content Delivery Network) before being sent to the user’s browser.

Challenges faced

The most prominent challenge we faced, pre-launch, was optimizing a content heavy website for mobile. We knew most of our users would come to know of our product through Facebook shares, and most viewing users would be on mobile. So we spent a lot of time designing and developing the ideal responsive web application. While the feedback we received post-launch was overwhelmingly positive, we did strike an unpleasant chord with a few users. They were upset that DelegatePal made research unfairly easy for delegates which might incite further procrastination. But that has never been our aim. DelegatePal only accumulates useful information for you. The skill that MUN seeks, however, is interpreting and effectively using that information to come up with solutions to pressing problems. DelegatePal is simply an automated means to a user generated end, so to speak.

What’s next for DelegatePal?

DelegatePal will continue to improve based on user interaction and feedback. We will be adding more functionality to our cards. We are in the midst of working on a mobile app version of DelegatePal. In the near future, we will be starting a partnership program with MUN conferences and institutions to reach more delegates.

Finally, as we believe access to information is a fundamental human right, DelegatePal will always remain a free resource.

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