How might we redesign the Butterfly Ballot to make voting logical and clear for all voters?
A design challenge for students the University of Texas at Dallas in which I won first place out of thirty two student entries.
Original voting ballot design from Florida elections in 2000
The original Butterfly Ballot from the 2000 elections confused Florida voters and resulted in inaccurate election results. Voters were confused which box lead to which candidate, and the many elderly voters in Palm Beach, Florida had difficulty reading the instructions because the text was small.
For the redesign challenge, our designs were required to work with the same voting mechanisms (yellow bar in the middle).
We were restricted to using only black and white and were not allowed to change the candidate names or official government print such as the title, location and date of elections.
I sketched out four potential layout options to quickly see how they would look and what the interaction flow might be:
I created three high-fidelity iterations to see how the layouts looked when paired with the yellow mechanism and filled with the required text:
- Instructions were placed first for left-to-right reading/eye-tracking
- “Write-in” instructions placed with all the other instructions instead of separately, for consistency
- Aligned each candidate’s box with the voting box to make who you are voting for clear
- Emphasized the most important details (political party, names) over less important details (district numbers) so voters see all the necessary information immediately
- Streamlined and simplified details such as the arrows and placement of text, to make reading easier for the elderly
If I were to pursue this project further, I would conduct usability testing with voters to gather feedback and also observe their interactions with the ballots. I would specifically test with elderly men and women to ensure the ballots are understandable and easy to follow, since that is the demographic that had the most difficulty using the original ballots.
I would also spend more time rephrasing the voting instructions to make them clear and understandable in plain English. The current instructions can be confusing, but I kept most of the original text to challenge myself and see what could be improved within the design constraints.