The Challenge


How might we design an accessible election experience for everyone? read the brief


Accessibility Map

A polling station map that shows which station can be easily accessed by people in wheelchairs and also shows with which voting mechanisms a station is equipped. Creating awareness and giving information on billboards, sport events, malls, lobbies.

Similar to the London tube map - it could have clear icons that tell you with one look if a station has disabled access and to which extend it does.

The map could also be a way of creating sensibility and awareness and at the same time giving vital information to those in need:

  • It could be printed and sent to voters before election day as part of the voting
  • It could be posted around town on giant billboards
  • It could be projected on screens at sport events
  • It could be hung in public spaces, malls, or lobbies
  • It could be printed with braille dots for blind people

After listening to the Global Issue video posted by Daniel, I believe this will also help to lower the mental barrier for people with limitations to actually go voting without having the fear of being embarrassed.

Building on the "Mapping, Accessibility Rating and Traffic Reports" concept I believe we could design a printed map that could be more easily accessed by less tech savvy voters. But it would also work as an APP or website with location based services.

Building on "Complete Online Polling Station Performance Tracking Platform" and Graham's inspiration on Yelp for polling stations, I integrated simple happiness icons into the map. They could be interactive in the APP and online version. When you click on the happiness icon it will link you to the SeeClickFix site of the polling station.
How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?
It will be a reminder that there is an election, and help everyone locate their polling station more easily.
How well does this concept adapt to the changing needs of different voter communities?
Before I managed to delete this entry, Anne-Laure Fayard mentioned in a comment that this concept is based on the premise, that voters may change their poll station from the one they have been assigned to. In countries where this is not possible, the map could be redesigned to be used in a campaign to highlight the necessity of being able to switch polling station. Especially if they are not all equipped with the same standards
My Virtual Team
Anne-Laure Fayard Daniel Castro Ashley Jablow Paul Reader Graham


Join the conversation and post a comment.

Nymphaea Notschaele

March 23, 2012, 08:51AM
I like the concept. About the braille version... tactile maps can be really hard to understand, it is an art in itself to create a good one. So I guess for the braille version it is probably most effective if it is a text based version. Maybe a list ordered on distance or user satisfaction, with the exact street address. The address can be given to a taxi driver for instance or used as input for a navigation system.
And when you are making a digital text version it could be a table where you can sort on the various characteristics. This would help people that are not good with maps. It could make it also an interesting tool to measure the level of accessibility in a district. This could possibly add pressure to policy makers.

Ting-Han Huang

March 21, 2012, 06:05AM
Stefan, it is a great idea to have apps and physical maps at the same time. I like the concept of posting physical maps not only to give information about location, but also to create awareness that election day is coming. I also like the idea of clear icons that could tell you vital information about a poll station with one look. Pictures speak better than words, especially if the icons you use are adapted from icons we see daily.

Paul Reader

March 21, 2012, 09:38AM
I thoroughly agree - the lack of easily recognisable icons was a design flaw in my mapping type concept, and the exposure for the election, the polling places, what they offer and possibly new technologies could all be incorporated into physical as well as apps and online mapping.

Anne-Laure Fayard

March 17, 2012, 03:41AM
Congratulations Stefan for being selected! I like the idea that the map could also be used to ask for being assigned to another poll stations, or maybe to just advocate for more poll stations addressing the needs of voters with accessibility issues.

I also like the information as well as co-creation aspect of it. It might allow to make transparent the gaps between the legislation and the reality of the poll stations. For one of my inspirations I did some research on the situation in France and realized that although there was a law regarding accessibility very few poll stations actually implemented it. There was also a video in one of the inspirations where a person in a wheel chair was trying to go to vote but the "accessible entrance" was not open...

Per the openIDEO team comment, it will be great if you could try various designs with a few people - to see how they interpret it, but also maybe what they would want to know.

An-Khe Tomer

March 16, 2012, 14:06PM
I really like the idea. Many people have smartphones, iPads and other mobile devices with wifi or 3G services. Since many people cannot change their voting district, what if the voter could use their mobile device or laptop to download a digital copy of the map and input their address to be told exactly where they need to go in either step by step direction or through gps.

Nymphaea Notschaele

March 23, 2012, 08:42AM
I would also want to add directions by public transport. Not everyone owns or can drive a car ....

T As

March 16, 2012, 14:02PM
This idea is great. I like how you were able to incorporate a physical
Map and also an app into this design.


March 15, 2012, 20:29PM
Stefan, congrats on this post joining our Top 20 shortlist! We were especially excited that your concept both raised awareness and provided practical information to voters.

During this Refinement phase, it might be fun to think about taking your fab sketches to the streets and getting real user feedback in subways or tube stations? What do people like? What makes sense? Or what's confusing? For more information on specific ways to iterate and update your concept, check and

Patricio M. Hidalgo

March 15, 2012, 00:18AM
Your concept makes everyone aware of location. I like it

Paul Reader

March 13, 2012, 12:50PM
You might like to look at Colour Coded Voting
to see if there are any things to incorporate for refinement phase.

Stefan Ritter

March 13, 2012, 19:44PM
absolutely! one could start by choosing the color that is on the voting card, and then it fires up the polling stations within that colors voting area!

Paul Reader

March 13, 2012, 07:55AM
Well reconstructed Stefan I will link back to this from my Tactile and Narrative Maps too although their focus is more upon navigating near and inside polling places it is vital that people know how to get to their polling places and what they will find when they get there.

Meena Kadri

March 12, 2012, 22:59PM
Nice one, Stefan – and great that you've soldiered right along and taken the comments into consideration. Great collaborative attitude! Loving what you've got going on here – and that you've developed some sketches to flesh things out further.

Paul Reader

March 13, 2012, 06:46AM
Agreed Meena
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