Usability in Civic Life: Voting and Usability

Ensuring the Usability of Voting Systems

A UPA 2004 Workshop
Monday, June 7, 2004
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

This workshop looked at the social, civic and methodology issues in ensuring the usability of voting systems and new voting concepts currently being trialed. Participants considered the issue of e-voting/e-participation through the lens of usability and user-centered design. Three main topics were covered:

  • Understanding the voting context
    Including voters, but also elections officials, party representatives, maintenance and operations staff, politicians and the poll workers, as well as the political system.
  • Usability and design methods for voting systems
    The usability toolkit is a large one, with methods that range from direct observation to gathering information from secondary sources. As we look at the model of the voting experience, we believe that some methods are more appropriate than others.
  • Ethics and Process
    Many of the people working in the field have worked at some time for a vendor, or another party that creates the potential for conflicts of interest. What are appropriate ethical guidelines for people working in this field?

Voting and elections is a complex topic. Our goal was to bring together people from around the world to share their experience and knowledge. Attendees included Usability professionals, information designers, plain language experts, graphics artists, people with expereince as election officials, voting system designers, and social scientists

Participants and Position Papers

(Links lead to position papers submitted for the workshop)

Boaz Chen
Addwise Infomanage, Israel

Louise Ferguson*
Digital Habitats, London, UK

Bill Killam*
User-Centered Design, Washington DC, USA

Sharon Laskowski
NIST, Washington DC, USA

Richard G. Niemi and Michael W. Traugott
University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Ian Piper
Diebold Election Systems, Dallas, TX, USA

Amy Pogue
Design Institute, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Whitney Quesenbery*
Whitney Interactive Design, High Bridge, NJ, USA

Janice (Ginny) Redish
Redish and Associates, Bethesda, MD, USA

Josephine Scott*
Compuware Corporation, Detroit, MI, USA

Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall and Cheyenne Medina
Design for Democracy, Chicago, IL, USA

* Workshop facilitators

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