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© 2004 Digital Habitats E-voting: Starting from People Louise Ferguson UPA Voting and Usability Project Director, Digital Habitats Ltd

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Presentation on theme: "© 2004 Digital Habitats E-voting: Starting from People Louise Ferguson UPA Voting and Usability Project Director, Digital Habitats Ltd"— Presentation transcript:

1 © 2004 Digital Habitats E-voting: Starting from People Louise Ferguson UPA Voting and Usability Project Director, Digital Habitats Ltd 4 November 2004

2 © 2004 Digital Habitats Paper ballots Much improved design in recent years Still suffer from design problems

3 © 2004 Digital Habitats London Mayoral election 2004 There were no instructions on the paper at all. It simply said what is your first and second choice for mayor?. I said my first choice was x and my second was the same guy, so I voted for him twice. But…youre not allowed to vote for the same person twice. [Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow]

4 © 2004 Digital Habitats

5 Abbreviations – polling card Your Polling Station is: LORDSHIP LANE T R A HALL ENTR. REAR OF BEW COURT [From Southwark polling card, 2004]

6 © 2004 Digital Habitats Some design issues paper size and format - print quality - text layout - use of white space - fonts - font sizes - use of bold, capitals, underline - use of graphics, icons, pictograms - use of colour (paper, text, graphics), colour coding and colour wording - contrast - information (parties, candidates): wording, appearance, position - explanation: wording, appearance, position - instructions: wording, appearance, position - syntax - active/passive - positives/negatives - punctuation - text justification - valid mark(s) and relative position - multiple ballots per paper - abbreviations and acronyms - consistency: information, formatting, terminology

7 © 2004 Digital Habitats E-voting Opens up new possibilities Creates more possibilities for tripping up - greater complexity Requirements of e-voting are unique… …but the design issues are not Easy to design badly, difficult to design well

8 © 2004 Digital Habitats Even more design issues – e-voting height and pitch of screen - controls, input devices: type, appearance, labels, location, grouping, ruggedness, force required - screen format and size - luminance - use of flashing/flash rates - display adjustability - system navigation - logon procedure - security procedure - location of information in navigation - location of explanation in navigation - location of instructions in navigation - group and candidate grouping and demarcation - below the fold and scalability; scrolling, paging - alphabetical order/randomisation - selection mechanism - relationship to candidate information - button size, colour, position, relative position - button text - live areas on touch screen; mapping to input - feedback (visual, auditory), response time - ballot review options: location, language, options - procedure for reporting undervoting to voter - procedure for amending, restarting; reversing, clearing votes - skipping ballots - casting a blank ballot - system checking on inputs, alerts - accessing help - content and format of help – website addresses

9 © 2004 Digital Habitats For voters with No vision, limited vision Colour-blindness Reading problems Learning difficulties Limited English No hearing, limited hearing Limited movement, shaking Poor co-ordination Limited strength Limited physical access …vision deteriorates from around 40 years old

10 © 2004 Digital Habitats And even more design issues for accessibility location - selecting accessibility options - system timing, pacing - clarity of language - audio content - audio options - audio quality, volume - screen responsiveness - force required for input device - troublesome colours/colour combinations - colour coding - size of buttons - button colours - feedback redundancy – coercion

11 © 2004 Digital Habitats Can my grandmother use it?

12 © 2004 Digital Habitats …and what the law says One area that was prescribed in law was that the pilots had to have a replication of the ballot paper on the voting screen. In practice, this did not work very effectively as it was based on a paper design principle and it did not fit with the general design concepts used on the web. [Electoral Commission. Ballot paper design: Report and recommendations. June 2003]

13 © 2004 Digital Habitats Electronic voting districts <33% Electronic voting reported problems >55% [MSNBC, 3 Nov 2004]

14 © 2004 Digital Habitats SCOPE research report Polls Apart, 2003 We do not believe any kiosks represent an improvement to the traditional pen and paper method.

15 © 2004 Digital Habitats

16 E-voting in the wild… Is e-voting a private process? Who controls the home computer? – from household registration to household computer Workplace monitoring E-voting period – implications for campaigning Interaction between campaign websites/pop-ups etc and official voting sites Independent monitoring/observation? Where is the research?

17 © 2004 Digital Habitats Usability "The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use [ISO standard on usability: ISO 9241,1998] Usability is key to free and fair elections.

18 © 2004 Digital Habitats SCOPE research report Polls Apart, 2003 …across all the channels in all the pilots [it was felt that] the usability could be improved. It sounds obvious but making something as simple as possible will make it more accessible to more people.

19 © 2004 Digital Habitats Dimensions of usability - the 5 Es Effective Efficient Engaging Error Tolerant Easy to Learn [Quesenbery, 2001]

20 © 2004 Digital Habitats Designing for usability means designing for and with users Thanks to Gary Larson

21 © 2004 Digital Habitats Designing for usability Early focus on users and tasks –User research BEFORE system design –Typical users, not experts or developers Empirical measurement –Establish testable behavioural specifications –Study user behaviour through user testing –This is not market research Iterative design –Modify design and repeat as necessary

22 © 2004 Digital Habitats Usability testing People invariably say one thing and do another Observing what people actually do, one-to-one with the realistic materials/equipment With real citizens –Not experts or developers Not the same as focus groups, or system/functional testing

23 © 2004 Digital Habitats Voting ecosystem Electoral officials and poll workers Candidates and their representatives Voters Voter registration Election information Candidate information Polling day Counting; getting the results

24 © 2004 Digital Habitats Accessibility now on the agenda Campaigns from disability rights organisations –SCOPE, RNIB Disability Rights Commission Legislation –e.g. Disability Discrimination Act 1995

25 © 2004 Digital Habitats Usability and accessibility Plentiful research on interaction design, cognitive psychology, human-computer interaction No UK voting usability standards Systems not developed in compliance with standards Lack of usability expertise in the voting design process

26 © 2004 Digital Habitats International problem In general, voting systems have not been measured for usability nor have they been developed using a user-centered design process. We do not know the degree to which voters cast their vote NOT as they intended due to confusion with the user interface. [Sharon Laskowski, Head of Usability, US National Institute for Standards and Technology]

27 © 2004 Digital Habitats Dont rely on system vendors Voting system vendors have limited awareness of the field of usability and have only limited awareness of accessibility. [Bill Killam, 2004, after having reviewed some 30 current e-voting systems and interviewed vendors]

28 © 2004 Digital Habitats US standards IEEE –Standard P-1583 Section 5.3: Usability and Accessibility Standards –Updated version in progress Elections Assistance Commission –Technical Guidelines Development Committee –Started work 2004 –Due to report formally spring 2005 Improving the Usability and Accessibility of Voting Systems and Products. National Institute for Standards and Technology report to US Congress, April 2004

29 © 2004 Digital Habitats IEEE Standard (2003 version) Examples: The use of colour for coding shall be redundant with another coding method. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms.

30 © 2004 Digital Habitats Recommendations Learn form the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Design Research Learn from whats happening elsewhere –Dont try and reinvent the wheel –Consider NISTs 10 Recommendations to US Congress Introduce user-centred design and usability testing to the e-voting process Develop performance-based usability standards and conformance tests for voting systems

31 © 2004 Digital Habitats Resources and contacts Blog: Website: Voting resources: Email:

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