Re: Digest of QA/Developer Lead Discussion

From: Alan Dechert <adechert_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Sat Aug 09 2003 - 16:16:45 CDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Mertz" <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 1:00 PM
Subject: Re: Digest of QA/Developer Lead Discussion

> "Alan Dechert" <> wrote:
> |Okay. But remember: we need pixel for pixel control over the screen.
> |We need to be able to replicate this:
> |
> I think Alan is slightly imprecise in the spec here. *What* exactly
> needs to be replicated? ...
Thanks David, for your response. Some of this was covered in the original
post I made on FYI, this partial list of requirements was copied to
this list:

> Does it have to be those fonts? That kerning? ...
This question is not as simple as it sounds. Paper ballots are printed in
accordance to a great many rules that go into great detail about fonts.
These rules vary some from state to state.

However, there are not such detailed specs for on-screen ballot
representation. We are, to a certain extent, playing the Christopher
Columbus role. One of the main ideas behind the ballot mockup I did was to
get a normal-sized ballot on one screen. This fits well with the new FEC
guidelines that says we should minimize steps for voters and minimize page

The other idea is that by following the style of paper ballots, we stick
with established ideas about what ballots are supposed to look like. This
will make our demo easier to absorb for

The mock up I made followed (as much as I could) ballots like these samples
on Doug Jones's page here:

> Do the selection buttons need to look exactly that way? ....
See item 2 in the partial list of requirements referred to above.

> I'm thinking we may want a box. On selection, a large red checkmark will
> appear in the box (and maybe extending outside the box). In any case, it
> will be stupendously obvious who was selected and who was not.

> Are those exact colors required?
Again, please see item 2 in the partial list of requirements referred to
above. I don't have any colors in the ballot mockup because I want the
colors to change (giving visual clues to the voter) according to what the
voter does.

> The number of candidates?
Yes, I want the mock up followed in these details. Actually, we may change
some candidate names or other details. We need to think carefully about
what names we use. For example, I avoided the names of current politicians.
People need to be able to vote on the demonstration system with other people
observing. So, we don't want to force people to reveal too much about
political preferences -- they need to be comfortable with the list. I tried
to include blacks and women in the list of candidates. Probably, we need to
edit the list to include some Asian and other minorities. The contests need
to be light but not totally silly.

> The line styles?
Pretty much, yes. Have a look at the way ballots are designed. There is
some subtlety is the way the lines separate candidates and races. I don't
have it down precisely in the mockup but we need some consistent rules about
line weights in the tiles and between the tiles.

> Actually, the sample has at least one bug in it that stands out: There
> is no apparent way to reset the choices (except in the county
> commissioner area). Selecting a different candidate is not the same as
> deciding not to vote in a race at all.
I want to try it as I have described it and if someone comes up with
something better, we'll try that too.

> The instructions at top suggest that these are checkboxes rather than
> radio buttons, i.e. "To de-select, point again" (what about clicking?).
Keep in mind that this software will work exactly the same way with a mouse
or touch screen. I guess I am assuming if someone is using a mouse with the
application, they will be astute enough to translate this instruction. If
they are using the touch screen (especially if they have chosen it because
they can't use a mouse), they may not easily translate instructions to click
to mean point (in the demo, the touch screen monitor will work with a

> However, if so, why the special "reset choices" for county commissioner?
The county commissioner race is an example of ranked preference voting.
It's more complicated. Suppose the voter ranked 6 candidates then decided
to move switch the second and third selections. How do you want to handle
that? I think it's easiest to just punch reset, and re-rank the 6.

> And also, for users who ARE accustomed to most recent computer interfaces
> will expect a square for a checkbox, not a circle. ....
Maybe even people used to paper ballots. Please see item 2 in the above
referenced partial list of requirements.

> Circle suggests radio button. ...
For most races (where it says, "Vote for One"), it should work something
like a radio button. That is, it must be impossible to select more than
one. Overvoting must be impossible in this system. As I say, I think we
will actually use a box instead of a circle. Graphically, I can't really
represent what I want in the static image since I want the image to change
dramatically when a selection is made.

> While we cannot *require* prior computer knowledge, we
> should not make things more difficult for those who *do* have it.

Alan Dechert
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:05 2003

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Aug 31 2003 - 23:17:17 CDT