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Accessible Voting

User-centered Design of Accessible Voting Interfaces for People who are Blind or have Low Vision (BLV)

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Motivation

  • Sri Lankan BLV Voters do not have an accessible voting mechanism. 

  • A paper based voting mechanism is practiced in Sri Lanka where a BLV person depends on another person who will be willing to vote behalf of them at the polling station. 

  • We thus set out to design a voting interface so it can enhance their right of voting in the years to come.

Research Question 1
Understanding Needs, Challenges and Opportunities

Methods

  1. Conducting stakeholder interviews (2- voting authorities, 2- leadership of BLV persons organisation, 9- user interviews).

  2. Conducting thematic analysis.

  3. Creating personas.

  4. Creating storyboards for possible scenarios.

Key Findings

Some insights based on the interviews conducted,

  • Braille literacy is low among the participants and is it being less learnt by new generations as well in Sri Lanka. However, this does not imply that Braille should not be included in the designs but rather to imply that it should not be the only way for accessing information.

  • Touch interfaces are preferred for voting due to their familiarity in using accessible features in touch phones but inconvenience to scan over the screen is a pain point.

  • Some users love pressing buttons to vote instead of tapping touch interfaces.

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Example Persona

Publications

Chandana’s persona indicates ability to use keypads by memorizing the locations and the functionality. In addition, his experience in using smart phones gives us the opportunity to make use of touch interfaces

This paper has results of both RQ1 and RQ2 -

Madhuka De Silva, Thushani Weerasinghe, Kapila Dias. (2019). Designing an Information Technology Based Voting Solution for Persons with Vision Impairment in Sri Lanka. The Twelfth International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, ACHI ’19.

Research Question 2
Design of Multimodal Voting Interfaces

Methods

  1. Identifying and listing potential interactions.

  2. Creating wireframes.

  3. Creating user flows.

  4. High-fidelity prototyping.

  5. Check in with users (design workshop). 

High-fidelity Prototyping

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Prototype was built using Microsoft PowerPoint slides to show the necessary content, a laptop with a touch interface, tactile sleeve made out of rigifoam, rubber buttons and wireless headphone to play audio instructions.

We conducted,

  • A pre-survey with Participants of the Workshop

  • Video recording and screen recording

  • Observations and Feedback

Some insights,

  • Buttons for page navigation has to be reconsidered, either in terms of the location or any other way of performing the function.

  • Holes are recognisable but there should be a further indication of guidance for them to reach the first hole. And also, an additional feature is required to improve the understanding of the five holes distinctly.

  • Double tap is easily performed. Some tend to use double tap instead of single tap when single tap is required. This leads to the consideration of not separating functions based on single or double tap categorisation but rather allowing to consider any tap (double or single) as in input.

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Publications

This paper has results of both RQ1 and RQ2 -

Madhuka De Silva, Thushani Weerasinghe, Kapila Dias. (2019). Designing an Information Technology Based Voting Solution for Persons with Vision Impairment in Sri Lanka. The Twelfth International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, ACHI ’19.

This paper has results of both RQ2 and RQ3 -

Madhuka De Silva, Thushani Weerasinghe, Kapila Dias. (2019). Information Technology Based Usable Ballot Interface Design for Persons with Vision Impairment in Sri Lanka. In: Antona, M., Stephanidis, C. (eds) Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Theory, Methods and Tools. HCII ’19. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11572. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-23560-4_16

Research Question 3
Evaluating Voting Interfaces

Methods

Methods

Based on previous findings, we decided to present two tactile input based interfaces. One ballot interface offers buttons (BTB) and the other touch input (TTB). Although this is a comparison, it does not imply one has to function exclusivley.​

  1. Usability testing.

  2. A pre-survey with Participants of the Workshop.

  3. Video recording and screen recording.

  4. Observations and Feedback.

The study was based on metrics recommended in ISO 9241-11, 1998 for Usability.

  • Effectiveness - Participant voting choices were captured using logs.

  • Efficiency - Time stamps were logged at several locations.

  • Satisfaction - System usability scale and Feedback with preferences

 

Participants - A total of 10 BLV participants, 7 with total blindness and 3 with low vision.

Findings

Effectiveness

Touch Tactile Ballot (TTB) was slightly higher (66%), which was measured by the number of completed ballots without errors.

 

Efficiency

TouchTB (Mean of 92.55 seconds) was slightly ahead that of ButtonTB (Mean of 105.5 seconds).

Satisfaction

Mean SUS Scores of 88.25 and 84.44 for ButtonTB and TouchTB respectively.
Users preferred the ButtonTB (50%) more than TouchTB (20%) while some preferred both (30%).

Publications

This paper has results of both RQ2 and RQ3 -

Madhuka De Silva, Thushani Weerasinghe, Kapila Dias. (2019). Information Technology Based Usable Ballot Interface Design for Persons with Vision Impairment in Sri Lanka. In: Antona, M., Stephanidis, C. (eds) Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Theory, Methods and Tools. HCII ’19. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11572. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-23560-4_16

Reflections

First time conducting research and Human centred interaction!

Main challenge and lesson learnt:
This was the first time I did a research project and also based on Human Centered Design. Although I was nervous at the beginning, I soon learnt the research methods from my supervisors/advisors. I also learnt that active participation with users in designing was key to ensuring the project’s success.

Gold medal!

Generally, this project is supposed to be conducted as a group which for some reasons I had to do by myself (read my story here in medium). Long story short - I was awarded the best project in my batch at my faculty!

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Acknowledgment

I am super grateful for my supervisors (Dr. Thushani Weerasinghe, Prof. Kapila Dias), my faculty (UCSC in University of Colombo), my family and friends, participants and authorities who shared their time and experiences!

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