Diebold touchscreen Voting machine – not fit for purpose?

Note: This post is over 4 years old. It was first published in November 2008

If you’re like me, you may have read about the usability problems with the Diebold touchscreen voting machines in the States. Before I saw this video, I didn’t realise quite how serious the problems are. It’s not a question of a subtle usability issue or two – as the video demonstrates (at 1m 15s), even when the touchscreens have just been calibrated, they are innacurate, making it very easy to select the wrong candidate without realising.

It’s been argued that the problems stemmed from a lack of budget for usabity testing. This is nonsense – ‘expensive’ usability testing isn’t needed to uncover this problem. A simple QA process would have shown immediately that the device isn’t fit for purpose.

I can’t understand why didn’t they just use hard buttons rather than touchscreens. It would have been cheaper and would have avoided the need for calibration entirely… The mind boggles.