Intuitive Voting is a research-driven concept, designed to improve the election process. It includes smartphone apps to inform and assist voters and to train and support election volunteers.
Voters are provided with a single-point, start-to-finish experience for registration, candidate and issue research, ballot review, and, ultimately, voting and results tracking. New voters can register via the app either electronically or by generating a registration form. Voters view objective information about candidates and issues, and can select options to take to the voting booth for reference or to vote remotely, when available.
The concept app also supports election volunteers with interactive training and communication tools. Volunteers can access tutorials, report waiting times, and contact officials for assistance.
CHALLENGE & RESEARCH APPROACH
In 2014, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration issued a report identifying shortcomings in political election systems nationwide (see SupportTheVoter.org). The report’s recommendations called for the modernization of the registration process, improved access to the polls, and enhancements in voter technology.
The Intuitive Voting project team conducted primary research to identify specific challenges for voters. Our researchers gathered information via contextual observation and interviews with a range of stakeholders during primary elections, including:
•First-time and experienced voters
•Volunteers who set-up and run the voting machines
•Judges who monitor the polls on Election Day
•Analysts who study elections.
We also completed a comparative research analysis of existing resources, including government websites and third-party election support tools to identify opportunities.
Our research efforts identified specific challenges for voters, including:
•Insufficient knowledge of all offices and issues that would be on the ballot prior to voting
•Unknown waiting times at the polls
•Inability to easily find results to compare against their own selections, which they could not always accurately recall.
Similarly, we identified challenges facing election volunteers, including:
•Low quality training materials
•Cumbersome voting machines
•Inadequate tools to communicate wait time information to voters.
These challenges drove the design of the Intuitive Voting concept apps.
The user needs identified from our research fed into an iterative design process, beginning with wireframes to define the workflow and content of our proposed solution. We focused on three key workflows that cover a representative range of needs and tasks:
1.First-time voters who need to register and, subsequently, vote in person.
2.Experienced, absentee voters who need to request and submit absentee ballots.
3.Election volunteers who need training and support to perform tasks on Election Day
We usability-tested the wireframes with prospective end-users for feedback and refinement and then developed interactive prototypes (IntuitiveVoting.com) that demonstrated the key features and benefits of the system
We also created the Intuitive Voting site to share our methods, findings and design ideas with like minded public sector designers.
OUTCOMES & BENEFITS
Intuitive Voting extends the idea of voting beyond Election Day by keeping voters informed of candidates and issues before elections and results afterwards.
From an interaction design perspective, the drivers were simplicity, ease of input, and clarity of information. For example:
•The voter registration process allows data entry via photo capture of your ID.
•The information architecture is structured around the upcoming election, and organizes content and tasks around candidates, issues, voting information, and election outcomes.
•The aesthetic design emphasizes readability and visual differentiation between read-only and data entry areas of the screens.
From a functional design perspective, Intuitive Voting consolidates a number of disparate information sources into a centralized, user-friendly experience. In doing so, it provides the following benefits:
•Directly addresses critical issues identified by the 2014 U.S. Presidential Commission on Election Administration (SupportTheVoter.gov), including ballot design and simplicity, poll worker training and support, and voter wait time
•Works within current election system infrastructures by creating efficiencies for voters using existing voting machines, while readily enabling future online voting
•Addresses voter apathy by increasing engagement with candidates and issues throughout the year, not just on an election day
•Improves venue utilization by providing information on poll locations and allowing election volunteers to report waiting times
•Improves voting experience for disabled voters by allowing ballot to be pre-filled; supports multiple language translations for non-English reading voters.
It was a great question to tackle
We were quite impressed with the way the project looked at multiple users, not just voters. It also looked at the end to end experience.
It was a great question to tackle and one with the potential for some real impact.