Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Human Factors Researchers Test Voting Systems for Seniors That Can Improve Accuracy and Speed for Voters of All Ages

03.01.2008
Human factors researchers at Florida State University have identified ways to improve electronic voting accuracy among older voters while also shortening waiting time at the polls. The results of their study were published in the fall 2007 issue of Ergonomics in Design.

During the 2000 presidential election in Palm Beach County, Florida, voting machines and ballot formats came under national scrutiny after it was found that more than 29,000 ballots were spoiled. The use of punchcard machines and a confusing ballot layout caused some voters to select an unintended candidate or double-punch the ballot.

In 2004 in Ohio, the issue of time at the polls became a critical factor; despite the use of electronic voting machines, a confusing ballot layout and an insufficient number of machines caused long waiting lines and prevented some Ohioans from voting.

These problems led Tiffany Jastrzembski and Neil Charness to test ballot and machine usability with a particular focus on older voters, who – because of reduced vision and motor control – tend to have more problems using computers, especially under time pressure. These researchers adopted a gerontological approach, which implies that when systems are made easier for older people to use, performance among younger users also improves.

The researchers tested voting performance with 30 younger (18–26 years old) and 30 older (ages 64–77) study participants using four ballot layouts and machine designs: (a) touchscreen and full ballot on one screen, (b) touchscreen and one ballot per screen, (c) touchscreen plus keypad and full ballot on one screen, and (d) touchscreen plus keypad and one ballot per screen.

The pure touchscreen format with one ballot per screen was found to produce the most accurate results, but the pure touchscreen with full ballot on a single screen showed the fastest completion times. As is often the case with human-machine interfaces, there is a trade-off between accuracy and speed. Even a small percentage of errors could potentially result in hundreds of thousands of miscast ballots, which must be weighed against the need to reduce waiting times at the polls.

Jastrzembski and Charness recommend additional studies – again with older voters – that can lead to more user-friendly ballot design and electronic voting systems for users of all ages.

Download a copy of the Ergonomics in Design article, “What Older Adults Can Teach Us About Designing Better Ballots” (993 kb). For more information, contact HFES Communications Director Lois Smith.

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in September 2007, is a multidisciplinary professional association of more than 4,700 persons in the United States and throughout the world. Its members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. HFES is the largest human factors/ergonomics organization affiliated with the International Ergonomics Association.

Lois Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hfes.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>