Are the buttons too big? Is the type too small? Should it be bolded? Is there enough contrast in the color? Is it high enough resolution?

As I waited in line to early vote yesterday and watched voters punch at the touchscreen, bend over to get a closer look at the screen and raise their hands to require assistance I wondered how much usability testing our electronic voting system in Arkansas has undergone? This is the 2nd time I’ve voted using an electronic ballot so it has at least had some real world testing, but from just casually observing the 10 people voting in front of me in line there were some definite issues.

In general, I didn’t have any problems voting completing my ballot in under five minutes, but a couple of citizens stayed at their voting station the entire 20 minutes I was in the early voting site. In general if the voter was under 45-50, it didn’t seem they had any problems with voting, but voters that looked over 50 had a few issues and then voters over 65 took a considerably longer amount of time to cast a ballot.

Most younger voters are probably more familiar with computers and touchscreens than older voters. Of course back when we voted with pencils most older voters were more familiar with pencils and paper than younger voters.

The election worker who set-up my ballot told me at least three times that he had numerous complaints that the party affiliation line under each candidate was too small and make sure that I read it (of course, he didn’t realize that I just ignore party affiliation when I vote).

From my perspective I thought the ballot was easy to read. It was apparent what race I was voting in, who the candidates for office were and their party affiliation. The touch screen was very responsive to my command. My ballot was four pages long which I felt was a little long, but it really didn’t take to long to fill it out. The only part that slightly confused me was how many times I had to press complete to let the machine know I was done– I think it was three.

One thought on “How usable is your electronic ballot?

  1. Interesting question. I voted with an electronic ballot and although I didn’t have any problems understanding the ballot I also wouldn’t call it user friendly.

    I’m not a UX expert but I’d definitely focus on uncluttering the interface and creating a better flow.

    I’d be very interested to know if there was usability testing.

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