Weekend Discussion: Usability - Mozilla to West Palm Beach

Friday November 10th, 2000

We're all probably keenly aware that there were numerous usability problems (and here) with the balloting in West Palm Beach county during this Presidential election which created voting patterns which according to statisticians are, for all practical purposes, an impossibility.

Not going into questions of legitimacy regarding the vote, my questions to you are these: Can blame be placed when usability issues create incorrect or uncertain results? Is there remedy? Much has been said about usability issues in Mozilla - how does Mozilla's usability play a part in the developer/user relationship? Is there blame to be placed if a lack of usability testing creates an interface that's difficult for users to navigate? Do you think a correlation can be drawn between software UI usability and usability issues for paper interfaces like government forms or ballots? What responsiblity, if any, does the user hold for navigating a UI or form that suffers from serious usability issues?

#8 Re: re: absolutely

by gwalla <>

Friday November 10th, 2000 5:10 PM

You are replying to this message

"Easy... you trade your ballot for a new one"

In Palm Beach County, many voters were refused new ballots by precinct workers. But this gets out of the realm of user interface design and into problems of human interaction...there's no way to make people more user-friendly.

"Of course, when 100% of a second grade class can mark such a ballot correctly (tested yesterday), what does that say about the users? How can we effectively design an interface that could bridge a gap to people who cannot follow arrows?"

Remember, poor eyesight is a factor. The fact that the punch holes didn't line up correctly with the arrows is another.