The Challenge

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

Idea

priority queue

Similar to the priority seats in public transport or the priority boarding at airports for elderly and families - there should be a priority queue for voting. It should be for people with disabilities and other limitations.
Similar to the priority seats in public transport or the priority boarding at airports for elderly and families - there should be a priority queue for voting.
It should be for people with disabilities and other limitations. I once witnessed a young mother with two children turn away from the voting booth, because the line was too long - so the priority queue should also be open to young parents and people with young children.

Building on the "A Genius Bar for Voting" concept as mentioned by Meena Kadri in the comments the priority queue should also give polling stations a space for different voting methods - paper ballot, audio booth, braille ballot, computer based voting, ...

Building on Paul Reader's concept on interactive signage, the two queue system should have a smart signage that speaks and shows the next free polling booth. This helps to optimize the two queues. It ensures that all polling booths are in use, but that polling booth number 3 can be used exclusively for the priority queue if necessary.
How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?
It will reduce the barriers for people with limitations and will give a sense of community and respect at the the voting stations.
What kinds of resources ā€“ whether time, money, people, partnerships, technology or otherwise ā€“ will be needed to get this concept off the ground?
Not allot - it could be implemented as a standard procedure with extra queuing lines and additional signage to help creates awareness.
My Virtual Team
This is based IDEO Palo Alto's concept of "Rethinking Election Queues" Meena Kadri Daniel Castro Paul Reader

Comments

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Edmund Ng

November 12, 2013, 16:41PM
This has already been done in many countries. Typically there are dedicated queue lines for people with disabilities, having leg injuries, or even the wheelchair bound older folks who can't walk properly. It's pretty organized here in Singapore as there are plenty of voting centres. On average, an area consisting 5,000 people will be assigned to a voting centre, typically a school with 6 full voting lines. Hence it's not congested and you don't really have a queue problem. Therefore, we could easily have a priority queue.


Edmund Ng
http://www.internetempire.com.sg

Ann Tyler

April 22, 2012, 20:51PM
Great idea Stefan! This is just another simple but brilliant idea that eliminates a reason someone can use not to vote. I'm sure that story about the lady who got to the voting center and left due to the long line is a common one. Honestly, it is something I think about when I'm on my way to voting. Allowing certain groups of people quicker access to voting will make their voting experience quicker and less burdensome, while it will also speed up the process for everyone too.
For example, a mother with several young children waiting in line can be just as bothersome for people in line around her as it is for her. The kids could be crying, whining, or simply upset. Letting them go quicker in a priority line will ease the stress level for that mother while also keeping the other line calm and quiet during the waiting process. No one wants to wait too long, but certainly no one wants to wait in line behind a crying child.

Paul Reader

March 28, 2012, 18:17PM
Well done Stefan!
This has always been a very practical and achievable concept.
Would love to see how its implementation is achieved - given my incapacity to observe it at first hand.

Ashley Jablow

March 22, 2012, 23:21PM
I really like the layout you've created Stefan ā€“ really helpful to understand how this priority queue works!

Paul Reader

March 20, 2012, 11:08AM
Great update Stefan!

Paul Reader

March 17, 2012, 12:25PM
Hi Stefan - congratulations on both short-listed concepts.
I'm sorry I should have said that earlier.

As I said in my last comment below Keith's I have revised my thinking about how to handle a priority queue in conjunction with my ticketed dispersal.
It will be necessary to issue 2 sequences of tickets - priority and general.To do this I propose that ALL voters first encounter the priority ticket machine where those voters with special needs will receive their ticket and directions to a priority waiting area situated closest to the verification/ballot issuing tables. General voters can at this point be redirected to their ticket machine and proceed accordingly.
The reason I mention this here is because I believe that this ticket machine should also be the initial information point/signpost for the priority queue.

I should like your thoughts on this.
 

Keith McConn

March 16, 2012, 14:16PM
This is a really great idea, allowing those with disablilties vote qucker, making the votinng process less strenuous for them. Also, this can be done with minimal resources. Good job making the final 20!

Paul Reader

March 16, 2012, 15:44PM
You are right Keith.
That's why I should like to continue to collaborate with Stefan on jointly improving queue management. If making waiting more comfortable for everyone (as I hope 'Dispersing the Queue' can achieve) then prioritising some people with disabilities by addressing their particular needs earlier in the process can be more meaningful.
For example (and in the tradition of public transport/airline prioritisation) priority seating and wheelchair/scooter space near to and with clear passage to verification tables will be factored into my waiting area design. Giving them numerical priority might be another issue.

Paul Reader

March 17, 2012, 09:42AM
I have revised my thinking on this.

Daniel Castro

March 16, 2012, 14:02PM
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has some signage and graphics that it makes available to local election officials. See page 10 of this document - http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/workflow_staging/Page/69.PDF

I wonder if any of the designers in the community could build off of those styles to propose a "priority queue" sign or something similar?

Paul Reader

March 16, 2012, 16:50PM
Should be possible to devise something that follows the guidelines and resembles bus/cycle routes.
I am finding discussing things here is giving me ideas to blend in my queue dispersal concept, so they can be complementary not mutually exclusive.
With regards to signage I am investigating some details of an audio sign product out of the UK. You both might like to have a look at the promo here:
 http://www.innovasolutionsonline.co.uk/promo.asp?a=na

Paul Reader

March 16, 2012, 16:52PM
Hmmm don't know why the link is not active - maybe this is better
 http://www.innovasolutionsonline.co.uk/promo.asp

Daniel Castro

March 17, 2012, 12:57PM
That looks very interesting.

Even if poll sites just use printed signs, I think having these signs might help educate the community that accommodations are available.

Paul Reader

March 17, 2012, 13:37PM
Here is the response I received:

Hi Paul- Iā€™m assuming that you have visited the NovActive demo video on our website, link below.
The system works best with signage constructed in the “tray” format, i.e a large, flat surface (where the text/icons/graphic are displayed) and 4 edges which are called the “return”.
A variety of material options are available- Dibond, Aluminium, Foamex etc.
The return is typically 25mm deep to accommodate the hardware/speaker/power source. The body of the signage acts as an amplifier for the small speaker attached to the back of the sign.
The message can be activated by a push button or a movement-activated PIR sensor- either way, a 9mm hole is needed in the base of the tray to allow the sensor/button to be on the aesthetic face of the sign.
The SD card memory is sufficient for several hundred message options.
As far as your specific application is concerned, NovActive, probably using the PIR movement sensor, would do the job.
The sign will either function using batteries or a supplied source of electricity, but this must be specified at time of order.
Regards,
Michael Thompson
Business Development Manager
Innova Solutions

and the extra questions I have now asked:

Judging by the size of the "hand wash" sign in the video I imagine an A4 page (or American letter size) would be close to one of your standard sizes.
Do you have a "ball park" price for a standard sign of such size with PIR and battery, and simple push button for comparison?
Do you have an idea of battery life in terms of number of activations and message length?
In a US polling place environment we might be considering perhaps 2000 activations in a single day but I imagine this would not be limiting.
Would the PIR range be variable/adjustable?
Finally what volume might the speaker typically produce?

Sorry for the barrage of extra questions but your product seems almost unique in the marketplace.

Paul Reader

March 17, 2012, 13:48PM
I thought the message might alert voters in general, but sight impaired in particular, to the face plate signage that could be embossed and or braille instructions or a tactile map etc. according to need.
In one of the other threads here I have sought your opinion (and Stefan's) on making a "special needs" ticket issuing machine the first point of encounter within the polling place for ALL voters. I thought the signage could be incorporated or be alongside.

Stefan Ritter

March 20, 2012, 10:33AM
Guys i'm so sorry if didn't have more time to react to your input. Maybe open ideo should implement a sort of Co author or wiki type system....

Graham G.

March 20, 2012, 10:41AM
I was thinking about the same thing. I would have loved to have a co-author and I also wish that I had more time to refine my concept.

I'm on an East Asian time zone and it seems the majority of users are in N. America, meaning that collaboration is a bit out of sync when it comes down to the wire like this.

Paul Reader

March 20, 2012, 11:20AM
Agreed Stefan and Graham (I'm on Australian Eastern summer time).
Also I only have dial-up access most of the time. I looked at collaborative options during the Social Impact challenge and have been investigating them ever since.with one or two promising options.
We could discuss the ideas in Charlotte Fliegner's Resources Section? thread in the User Forums once time pressures reduce again ( https://openideo.zendesk.com/entries/20670342-resources-section )

Ashley Jablow

March 22, 2012, 23:20PM
Ooo I love it when feature suggestions pop up in these conversations! We are definitely working on some new features that'll help people collaborate on their concepts. Paul, you're right to point to the Forums, but I'd actually recommend you head over to the Feature Suggestions thread (http://bit.ly/GRWZGY) - there's a great list of community-suggested ideas and we read all of them :) Keep up the great work!

Paul Reader

March 23, 2012, 00:09AM
Thanks Ashley!
Charlotte's thread is a part of Feature Suggestions - just focusing on possible Resources Section/Page arising from the Social Impact Challenge. I posted a comment about my prototype of geolocation/meeting/local challenges - and a tool that I find useful for complementing the collaboration map. So I thought they might provide a starting point for discussion.
I am happy to start a new thread with similar content if that is preferable.

OpenIDEO

March 15, 2012, 21:34PM
Congrats on this post joining our Top 20 shortlist Stefan! We really liked how simple yet effective this idea could be.

During this Refinement phase, let's think about what this priority queue might actually look like in a polling place, maybe by sketching it out? Also, how might we incorporate some of the lessons from other concepts that you've mentioned here to build out the signage, voting methods and other details for this concept? For more information on specific ways to iterate and update your concept, check http://bit.ly/oi_voterefine and http://www.bit.ly/oi_refine.

OpenIDEO

March 07, 2012, 20:11PM
Congrats on this post being today's online Featured Concept!

Stefan Ritter

March 08, 2012, 20:59PM
:)

Paul Reader

March 02, 2012, 00:53AM
Great thinking Stefan
This should be applied universally.
In the meantime this represents an idea to be incorporated into some of the broader concepts like T. Annie Nguyen's Voter Help Hub
( http://www.openideo.com/open/voting/concepting/voter-help-hub/ )
I shall incorporate it in my Mapping, Accessibility Rating and Traffic Reports concept too - I hope this will be acceptable.

Meena Kadri

March 02, 2012, 06:24AM
Bring on the collaborative builds!

Jason Wong

March 08, 2012, 08:43AM
This is indeed a courteous concept. Serving the needy will uplift their experience on election day. Without this, votes will be disadvantageously missed as many are reluctant to turn up. Every vote counts.

Daniel Castro

March 01, 2012, 22:22PM
Stefan, nice concept! Some poll places will give priority to people with disabilities. For example, in the State of Georgia:

"If you are 75 years of age or older or have a disability and you arrive at the polling place between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., you will not be required to wait in line. However, you will need to tell a poll worker if you want to move to the front of the line."

I think your concept illustrates how to integrate this much better into the poll place. Perhaps this concept can be integrated with others that are looking into improving the overall signage at the poll place?

Paul Reader

March 02, 2012, 01:06AM
Agree heartily Daniel.
The Georgia statement is a bit legalistic - modern signage is utilising easily recognisable graphic icons (like those Stefan has illustrated) I think of road signage with petrol bowser (gas) icons that are accompanied by a knife and fork if meals are available and/or a bed to indicate accommodation. In this case I can imagine something like a sign with a straight arrow for the main queue and a branch arrow to icons for the types of priority accommodated at that particular polling place. I guess the challenge in this is to settle on a limited range of easily understood icons.

Daniel Castro

March 02, 2012, 01:11AM
Paul, do you know if there is a way to incorporate audio into signage (cheaply). Many of the voters who might need special assistant might not be able to see the sign. Certainly, we could add some Braille to the signs, although many people with vision impairments don't read Braille.

Paul Reader

March 02, 2012, 01:38AM
In the Vibrant cities challenge one inspiration included scan-able QR codes and/or a mobile number that linked to audio information for tourism in formation associated with signs - I will try to find the reference.

Paul Reader

March 02, 2012, 01:51AM
I will still look but on reflection maybe you are thinking of direct 2-way communication with polling station staff from the point of signage.

Paul Reader

March 02, 2012, 02:21AM
Another couple of thoughts might be to emboss the signage and or incorporate piezoelectric or cheap mp3 audio like is used in greeting cards - but as to how to alert those who cant see the sign to its actual presence and function I don't yet have a formative idea.

Paul Reader

March 02, 2012, 04:09AM
This isnt exactly the link I was thinking of but a variation on this could be set up at building access points with wifi/bluetooth type technology.

Daniel Castro

March 02, 2012, 04:42AM
I was looking at some of the QR code alternatives like Blippar http://blippar.com/ and Aurasma http://www.aurasma.com/ and even Google Goggles. Rather than using unintelligible black-and-white boxes these apps use image-recognition. So perhaps it would be possible to standardize certain "help/assistance" images in poll places and then embed additional information and multimedia. Since these are still just paper signs, the costs would stay low. (Now whether anyone is using these apps is another question.)

Paul Reader

March 02, 2012, 08:19AM
Hi again Daniel I have built a small concept based on this one and our discussion here. Maybe it will open this discussion up generally but also relieve space here for discussion on other aspects of Priority Queues
http://www.openideo.com/open/voting/concepting/voter-friendly-and-interactive-signage/

IDEO Palo Alto

March 01, 2012, 21:50PM
Cheers for your great build Stefan!

Meena Kadri

March 02, 2012, 06:26AM
I imagine Stefan's concept would sit well alongside the Genius Bar for Voting idea too: http://www.openideo.com/open/voting/concepting/a-genius-bar-for-voting/

Stefan Ritter

March 06, 2012, 10:43AM
Thanks for the hint Meena! I incorporated the great comments and added "build on this" links to the concept!
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