Re: Re: Touch screens and wxPython

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Tue Dec 02 2003 - 21:24:07 CST

On Dec 2, 2003, at 7:57 PM, Gene Mosher wrote:

> Karl Auerbach wrote:
> It's important to allow the local voting officials to configure &
> define the GUI, without anyone having to learn wxPython. Fortunately,
> this system exists and is what I'm building a demo on. It will be
> available very soon.

NO! Local creativity is illegal in the voting arena, if that creativity
can lead to differences in the likelyhood that a voter will be
from one locality to another within the state. This is one of the most
important legal consequences of Bush versus Gore in the Supreme Court
after the 2000 election.

As a general rule, all options for any particular voting system should
set according to state law or according to the results of experimental
human factors studies.

Human factors research done over the past 2 decades makes it extremely
clear that allowing the local user to customize a user interface is
Sure, it's fun to tinker with all those sliders, color options, pressure
sensitivities, and other stuff that some programmer allowed me to set in
the config file, but experiment after experiment shows real performance
benefits of carefully tuning these options based on proper experiment,
and again and again, we've learned that letting some random smart person
tinker with the settings almost always leads to performance
below the best possible.

So, we've got to tread carefully here! As programmers, yes, let details
of the GUI be parameterized, but then, proper experiment should be used
to determine the best parameter settings, and then the parameters should
be locked down!

> I wouldn't know that but it also doesn't matter to me how they or
> anyone else deals with it because I have been at it a lot longer than
> anybody at Diebold has.

Hmmm. I wrote my first touch-screen application in 1974, and I wrote a
real bang-up touch-screen demo back in 1978. Based on experience going
back that far, I can certainly claim that I've been dealing with this
longer than Diebold, but I'll never claim that I can't learn from the
mistakes of others, and I'll guarantee that looking at user interfaces
designed by others is a good idea. Those who don't learn from the past
are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, and all that.

                                Doug Jones
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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:02 2003

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