Brunel University London
i-Voting Report (July 2023).pdf (1.34 MB)

What do voters want from an online voting experience? Results from user testing of a prototype i-voting app

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posted on 2024-03-14, 09:07 authored by Manu SavaniManu Savani, Justin FisherJustin Fisher, Fotios SpyridonisFotios Spyridonis

The UK does not offer remote online voting (i-voting) now. But, as digital services and digital citizen-government interactions continue to grow, voting could be offered remotely online in future alongside postal and in-person ballots. So what might i-voting look like, and how might voters respond? What makes an i-voting experience positive or negative?

We designed a prototype voting app that mirrors the traditional ballot paper. We asked potential voters to use it, on three different digital devices, and compared it with the in-person experience. Our study involved a diverse sample of 32 people from the Brunel community who kindly gave their time to test the alternative voting mode and share their feedback and opinions with us.

Our key findings are:

  • The prototype app was positively evaluated, both in terms of its design and layout, and the experience of navigating it to complete the voting task.
  • Convenience, ease of use, simplicity and accessibility were repeatedly mentioned as advantages of i-voting. Security and privacy concerns were mentioned frequently, but not always as prohibitively high risks.
  • Two thirds say they would opt for i-voting, if it were available.
  • On a ‘willingness to vote online’ scale of 0 to 10, our respondents gave an average score of 8.4.
  • Gaining first-hand experience of the app was associated with either maintaining or improving willingness to vote online – the ‘maintainers’ generally had a high initial willingness to vote online, while the ‘improvers’ were initially less keen.
  • If i-voting were to become an option in future, our respondents want to see stronger security and authentication features on an i-voting app, education to inform voters about how i-voting works, and transparency about data risks, actors involved, and the security measures in place to prevent fraud and malpractice.

Further testing, on a larger scale, could usefully explore which voter groups might benefit most from the option of i-voting, and how design features and voter engagement could address security and data protection concerns.


Brunel Institute for Digital Futures


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