How design thinking can improve lives and mitigate challenges to free and fair elections? 

Problem: The current paper ballot system faces challenges in adapting to the evolving electoral landscape, particularly with the increasing number of candidates and parties participating in elections. The existing ballot design struggles to accommodate the growing complexity while maintaining clarity and usability for voters. Issues such as font size, ballot fitting, and overall design layout need to be addressed to ensure that the ballot effectively serves its purpose and enables voters to confidently cast their votes. The ballot design must also consider the diverse preferences and needs of voters, promoting inclusivity and accessibility for all.

Solution: To address the challenges faced by the current paper ballot system, a human-centred design (HCD) approach is proposed. The solution focuses on leveraging design thinking principles to enhance the clarity, usability, and inclusivity of the ballot design. The key components of the solution are as follows:

1. Voter-centric approach: The HCD approach prioritises understanding voters’ individual insights and experiences. By actively engaging with voters and gathering their feedback, the design process can identify and address the specific challenges and preferences they encounter when interacting with the ballot.

2. Racial equity checkpoints: Integrating racial equity checkpoints throughout the design process ensures that the ballot design is inclusive and equitable. By considering the diverse needs and experiences of different racial and ethnic groups, the design can mitigate potential barriers and promote equal access to the voting process.

3. Community collaboration: Collaborating with community leaders and affected populations is crucial to the success of the redesign effort. By involving these stakeholders in the design process, their unique perspectives and insights can be incorporated, ensuring that the ballot design reflects the needs and preferences of the communities it serves.

4. Iterative design process: The HCD approach emphasises an iterative design process, allowing for continuous refinement and improvement based on user feedback. Through multiple rounds of prototyping, testing, and refinement, the ballot design can be optimised to enhance clarity, usability, and overall effectiveness.

5. Balancing practical requirements and user needs: The redesigned ballot must strike a balance between meeting practical requirements, such as accommodating a larger number of candidates and parties, and addressing the diverse needs of voters. By carefully considering factors such as font size, layout, and visual hierarchy, the design can ensure that the ballot is both functional and user-friendly.

By applying design thinking principles and adopting an HCD approach, the redesigned ballot paper aims to mitigate the challenges posed by the evolving electoral landscape. The solution focuses on creating a ballot design that is clear, usable, and inclusive, reflecting the diverse preferences and needs of voters. Through a collaborative and iterative design process, the redesigned ballot seeks to enhance the voting experience and ensure that every voter can confidently and effectively exercise their democratic right.