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Voter Information Portal

As a senior, we were tasked with developing a thesis that solved a problem in our community. I decided to focus on developing a solution for the lack of involvement in local politics. After all, in off years, voting in local elections drops by anywhere from 10-20%.

Overview

I felt that the first step to increasing voter turnout was to address the confusion of information surrounding local elections.  To begin with, I ran an online survey and defined my audience. From there I collected my content while looking at what applications were currently on the market and studying case studies on voting habits.

Developing the information architecture became the next step and after that I was able to develop a simple site map. I then created a simple wireframe and ran a usability test with a few people from my target audience in XD. After a few adjustments I began to apply my branding. Once that was complete I ran a final usability test through InVision.

Role

Primary Researcher & Designer
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The project timeline was a little over 1 year, from January 2018 to March 2019

Survey Result

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I gave an online survey of 23 questions to roughly 50 people to get a gauge on what the general public might be looking for when it comes to election information. My results showed me that very few people know who their local elected officials are, nearly 20% had never even voted in a local election. I used this survey to guide my content structure, placing local officials and supported issues higher in my information heirarchy.

User Personas

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Information Hierarchy

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Wire Frames

Usability Testing

In order to test the workability of my site, I ran a concurrent think aloud usability test. 5 individuals (3 female, 2 male), 25-30 years old, and mixed race took part in the test. Each was treated to a Starbucks drink of choice as payment. The participants were each given 3 tasks:

  • Email the mayor of your city

  • Locate the issues on the ballot in the upcoming election

  • Find a candidate in the upcoming election that supports something you support

Participant's primary issues were with finding how to email the mayor and understanding the issues in the upcoming ballot.

"I'm not sure what [this issue] is talking about. I don't understand."

"There's no way I'd email the mayor. I'd just tweet at him, not that they [politicians] check that sh*t"

To address these concerns, I did two things. The first was to add a section to the individual issue's page. This section contained a simplified version of the legal text of the issue. I looked up synonyms for more difficult words and translated legal jargon to plain English. I also ran an SEO check to ensure it met Flescher's Reading Score for my audience.

The second was to reach out to a few local politicians about their social media habits. Most had facebook pages and while interested in expanded, did not feel they had the time or resources to expand their social media presence. Since there was an inconsistent use of social media, I made the decision to link to the politicians' websites, where any social media they use is often linked.

Final Design

Sources

If you're interested in any of the research I've done, please feel free to reach out or use any of the links below.

MIT Election Data and Science Lab

U.S. Census Bureau

American National Election Studies

American Journal of Political Science

USA.gov

Ballotpedia