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User Research of a Voting Machine: Preliminary Findings and Experiences

Menno de Jong, Joris van Hoof, Jordy Gosselt

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 2, Issue 4, August 2007, pp. 180-189

Abstract

This paper describes a usability study of the Nedap voting machine in the Netherlands. On the day of the national elections, 566 voters participated in our study immediately after having cast their real vote. The research focused on the correspondence between voter intents and voting results, distinguishing between usability (correspondence between voter intents and voter input) and machine reliability (correspondence between voter input and machine output). For the sake of comparison, participants also cast their votes using a paper ballot.

The machine reliability appeared to be 100%, indicating that, within our sample, all votes that had been cast were correctly represented in the output of the voting machine. Regarding usability, 1.4% of the participants had cast the wrong vote using the voting machine. This percentage was similar to that of the paper ballot.

Practical implications as well as experiences with this type of usability testing are discussed.

Practitioner's Take Away

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User Research of a Voting Machine: Preliminary Findings and Experiences