CATEA – Development of a More Universal Voting Interface (HFES)

The CATEA EZBallot project team presented this posted at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Conference, 2013.

Download the poster as a PDF file

Image of the poster

Poster for Development of a More Universal Voting Interface

Text of the Poster

Development of a More Universal Voting Interface

Voting systems must be usable by all eligible voters regardless of their skills, abilities, and experiences. However, current voting systems are not usably by all voters, particularity those with functional limitations. To make voting easier for people with and without disabilities, we developed a universal voting interface, EZ Ballot, that integrates a simplified and flexible ballot design that includes multimodal I/O interfaces.

Based on formative usability study with 21 participants with visual, cognitive, and dexterity disabilities, nine design recommendations were developed to improve the EZ Ballot interface.

Usability Findings

  • Understanding instructions: starting (n=2), locating Yes and No buttons (n=4), changing a vote (n=5)
  • Selection: selecting a candidate (n=4)
  • Navigation: confusing about going back to previous pages (n=5)
  • Using gestures: using gestures incorrectly (n=5)
  • Using the write-in interface: unfamiliar with “write-in” votes (n=6), unfamiliar with new Slidetype interface (n=6), entering letters (n=7), correcting a letter using the Slidetype write-in interface (n=8)
Two graphs illustrate the findings:
  • Ease of use vs. smartphone ownership, showing higher ease of use for owners
  • Preferred input methods: Push Button-4, Touch-10, Speech-3, Stylus-3

Design Recommendations

  1. Refine the instructions with a tutorial mode for first-time users
  2. Provide a way of controlling audio and visual characteristics
  3. Investigate the random access ballot structure
  4. Investigate the impact of the verification pages
  5. Refine the cut-out cover
  6. Punch out/clarify the progress bar
  7. Provide plain language alternative explanations that clarify the meanings of “write-in” and “delete”
  8. Refine the visual characteristics of the Slidetype interface
  9. Provide flexibility through an optional keyboard


  • EZ ballot prototype, showing the tactile and touch buttons for both No and Yes, speech output and the cutout cover.
  • Ballot overview
  • Navigation between contests
  • Navigation between candidates
  • Prompt verification
  • Sub-review verification
  • Slidetype write-in
  • Visual adjustible setting