Designing touch screen voting systems: a rich picture exercise.
Name: Course: Instructor:
Pavel Gokin HF 770 Prototyping Chauncey Wilson
Collecting the data. My primary source of data was the Internet in general and the ACM digital library in particular. The papers and articles found there provided information about the design and use of voting systems, as well as the entities influencing or influenced, directly or indirectly, by the system. Some of the stakeholder concerns came from my personal experience and educated guessing. This is, of course, not how I would collect the data for this rich picture if I were doing it as a “real” project. Ideally, the insights would come from contextual interviews of the stakeholders as outlined in Monk and Howard’s article (Monk & Howard, 1998, p. 22). Thus the concerns addressed by the design would be real user concerns (albeit reported rather than observed) rather than what I, the designer, think the concerns were. Touch screen voting systems (VS) share most of the same stakeholders with all types of voting machines. The exceptions here are the stakeholders that come into play due to the electronic nature of the data collection. For example, the Secretary of State office, where voting system vendors have to escrow the source code of their systems (Dill et al., nd, 2.3). However, some design issues and stakeholder concerns are unique to touch screen VS. Let’s look at the stakeholders and their concerns, expressed in their own words.
Primary / core stakeholders. 1. The voter. This one is obvious. However, it may be useful to break this stakeholder into sub-stakeholders. Here’s why. Voting systems must be usable by all citizens 18 years of age or older. This includes not only “normal” voters, but also the elderly, disabled, uneducated, poor, and minorities (Bederson, 2003, p. 145). Each group has additional concerns on top of the ones it shares with all of the voters.
a. Concerns common to all voters, in their own words, include: i. “Will I be able to figure this thing out quickly?” ii. “Will my vote be properly recorded and counted? How will I know?” iii. “Will my vote be kept anonymous?” b. Disabled: i. “Will I be able to see the screen? Will I be able to use the system without seeing anything?” (low/no vision) ii. “Will I be able to reach the controls?” (stature, wheelchair) iii. “Will I be able to indicate my selection properly?” (motor) c. Elderly. In addition to having physical disabilities, the elderly are particularly distrustful of technology. They often need written proof of important transactions (i.e. paper social security checks). i. “Will I get a paper receipt or some written confirmation of my vote?” ii. “Will I have enough time to do everything comfortably?” d. Low literacy users: i. “Will I be able to understand the instructions/choices?” e. The poor and racial/ethnic minorities: i. “I can do this much better in Spanish!” ii. “Will they even count my ballot?”1 2. Poll workers. Poll workers are the people who deploy and manage the systems. Their concern stems from the fact that they have minimal training on the system and, therefore, may not be able to troubleshoot problems or answer questions (Bederson, 2003, p. 145):
“… because poor and ethnic and racial minorities were more likely to cast their ballots on outdated systems, their votes were among the least likely to be counted” (Bederson, 2003, p. 145).
a. “Oh no! Election night is tomorrow and we only got these things this morning! How will I ever learn how to use it, let alone help someone if they have a problem?” 3. The VS’s UI designer. This role may physically reside inside the system vendor’s organization (and influenced by it), but it also has its own concerns. a. “How can I design the interface so that it meets the requirements least expensively and do so without working nights and weekends to meet the deadline?” The problem here is three-fold: (i) requirements may stress...
Bibliography: Bederson, B. B., Lee, B., Sherman, R. M., Herrnson, P., Niemi, R. G. (April, 2003). Electronic Voting System Usability Issues. CHI 2003, April 5–10, 2003, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Dill, D.L., Mercuri, R., Neumann, P.G., & Wallach, D.S. (nd). Frequently Asked Questions about DRE Voting Systems. Retrieved on February 14, 2006 from: http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=5018. Coggins, C. (November, 2004). Independent Testing of Voting Systems. Communications of the ACM, October, 2004, 47(10), pp. 34-38. Monk, A., & Howard, S. (March-April, 1998). The rich picture: A tool for reasoning about work context. Interactions, pp. 21-30.
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