Eric Dai


An App for the Next Generation of Voters


October - November 2022 (4 weeks)

My Role

Individual designer and researcher


This is a design sprint where I design a solution to a complex problem. I am interested in how technology can help with the development of society, and one of the most significant factors that drive our policy landscape is the politicians that we have in office. Thus, I hope to improve the voter preparation experience.

Timeline and Process

Design Process



“Voting can be inconvenient, confusing, and even stressful.”

During this past mid-term election, my voting experience felt complex and confusing at times. From registering, learning what to bring, finding out who to vote for, to determining where to vote, the information was dispersed and hard to navigate.

I wondered if it was just me who felt this way, but I learned that this is a widespread phenomenon when I stumbled upon eye-opening statistics from the Pew Research Center:

“Young adults are less likely than older people to say voting is convenient and exciting: 50% of adults younger than 30 say voting is convenient.”

Another study found that, out of the 15% of voters who found the process difficult, roughly

“Two in ten mention logistical concerns, ranging from inconvenient timing, to wait times at the polls and uncertainty of how or where to vote or get information.”

There is a widespread logistical problem to voting. After evaluating on the advantages and drawbacks of various interfaces, I decide to proceed with the idea of creating an app to address the voting logistical challenges because most young people own mobile phones, and it is the device that most people will bring with them to the poll places as well.


User Research
To narrow down on the key objectives I hope to achieve with this project, I first conducted  semi-structured interviews with 4 adult voters that have voted in this midterm election to find out more about their experiences. Then, I identified major themes through affinity mapping.

Affinity Mapping

Key Challenges

There are 6 major areas of improvement for the voter experience.

Key Chellenges

User Persona

I summarized my young voters into two user personas to find how to best prioritize goals.

Persona 1
Persona 2

While the personas share commonalities...

  1. The student persona prioritizes becoming informed about the voting process.
  2. The professional persona prioritizes polling place optimization.

Competitive Analysis

To identify competitive features, I conducted a competitive analysis with products related to our user groups such as Activote and Voterbase surrounding this voter app space.

Competitive Analysis

This competitive analysis showed me that I should also pay attention to improving upon existing solutions for the candidate information flow.

Design Requirements

I summarized my findings with a problem statement for our user groups:

“Young voters need a one-stop place to obtain all voting information, from candidate summary to location and scheduling.”

With the baseline user research and competitive analysis findings, I decided to proceed to ideation with three core focuses on design requirements.

  1. Help voters view and save candidate information
  2. Help voters find the closest and least crowded voting centers
  3. Help voters get reminders on key voting dates and steps


Current User Journey

I began by examining the current user journey, to identify areas that can be improved.

❌ Existing Polling Place Flow

To find the polling places, users need to either Google their state website or county website to find a polling place finder. Afterwards, they may still need to dig through the web to find wait times for the polling places.

Current Flow 1

✅ New Polling Place Flow

New Flow 1


  1. Apply direct search, distance filter, and time filter
  2. Save and share favorite polling places


  1. Display the most important information such as open hours
  2. Intuitive UI and less clicks

❌ Existing Candidate Info Flow

To find the candidate information, users need to either google them individually, or find them in the form of PDF and word documents from specific political party websites such as NC Democrats. Or, the users can use apps such as Activote or Voterbase.

Current Flow 2
Current Flow 3

✅ New Candidate Info Flow

New Flow 2


  1. Apply direct search
  2. Save and share favorite candidates


  1. Display the most important information such as policy summaries
  2. Intuitive UI and less clicks

Designing For An All-In-One Experience

While I have finished ideating for two of the three major design requirements, I have not been able to connect these individual experiences. Another issue is that simply dedicating a whole flow to just notifications is not intuitive. Thus, I went back to my interviewed users to look for answers.

I hoped to create something like a homepage to help guide the users to candidate info, poll place info, general info, and other important features, etc. So, I created a list of all the app features and then decided to conduct card sorting. For instance, one interviewee ordered the card like this.

Card Sorting

From card sorting I realized that checking what to do before voting includes the steps of checking what to bring, learning about candidates, and searching for poll places, so I can design an interactive process display section on my homepage specifically to show users what to do.

✅ General Info and Notifications Flow

New Flow 3


  1. Brief onboarding segment where users enter their registered address
  2. See starred candidates and poll places in the profile page
  3. See what to bring and set notifications in the profile page


  1. Display the most important functions in the homepage
  2. Intuitive UI and less clicks

Information Architecture

With the design requirements in mind, I connected the flows to create a all-in-one experience.

Information Architecture


Polling Place Flow

I first began with the features search and filters and also favoriting and sharing by sketching out their potential locations in my P&P wireframes.

Polling Place P&P

I iterated on the best ways to refine the user experience through intuitive interactions and clean visual design.


For the usability tests, my participants need to conduct 2 tasks.

  • Task: Applying filters to find polling places

  • Task: Finding address of a specific polling place

Base on my findings, I made several major changes to my design:

Finding 1: More Flexibility!

Users prefer the flow to be as short and flexible as possible, many want to just favorite an option without tapping into the location's page. I improved the layout of the listings to have better spacing so users can clearly see the location photos as well as favorite the location without tapping into the options.

Improvement 1

Finding 2: More Engaging!

Users expressed the need for more visualizations of the geographical distribution of their options so they can go to somewhere that is close to where they are planning to go later in the day. I added a map view of the polling locations for people who are more visual and would like to see locations relative to each other.

Improvement 3

Finding 3: Show What Is Most Important!

Users hoped that the interface is simple but also be able to see details, they can still access the information. So, I prioritize the most important information - distance, wait time, and hours - first, and then added options to account for the edge case of wanting to see more details on the polling place page.

Improvement 2

High Fidelity Prototype

General Info Final 1
Poll Place Final 2
Poll Place Final 3


Candidate Info Flow

I first began with the features search and also favoriting and sharing by sketching out their potential locations in my P&P wireframes.

Polling Place P&P

I iterated on the best ways to refine the user experience through emphasized information and intuitive interactions.


For the usability tests, my participants need to conduct 1 task.

  • Task: Finding the summary description of a specific candidate

Base on my findings, I made several major changes to my design:

Finding 1: Acessible Current Election Information

Users hoped to be able to see the most basic election information without digging for them. This is especially true in regards to the information on early voting dates, election day, and number of races. So, I added the most emphasis on the card design for current election because it is the one that people care the most about and it is the reason that new users are using the app.

Improvement 4

Finding 2: Behavior Edge Cases

Sometimes, users prefer to star or favorite a candidate that they already know about, so they do not need to go into the candidate page before making their decision. Thus, I added the star button to the sample ballot page to address the edge case.

Improvement 5

Finding 3: Voter Specific Preferences

Voters value different things when it comes to finding the right candidate. While most care about party-affiliation and policies, non-partisan voters tend to look at other aspects such as experience and education. Thus, I added containers that can be opened to see more information. The new design offers more space for content and social media links.

Improvement 6

High Fidelity Prototype

Candidate Final 1
Candidate Final 2
Candidate Final 3


General Info and Notifications Flow

I first began with the features such as onboarding, viewing starred candidates and poll places, general information, and notifications by sketching out their potential locations in my P&P wireframes.

General Info P&P

I iterated on the best ways to refine the user experience through a helpful homepage and intuitive interactions.


For the usability tests, my participants need to conduct 2 tasks.

  • Task: Turn on or turn off specific notification settings

  • Task: Review voting checklist and favorited items

Finding 1: Need for Content Refinement

Users sometimes felt certain labels to be redundant or confusing, such as "current election" and "progress", so I updated the UX writing to be more accurate. I also found that the user's expectation of updates is mainly in the form of key dates. Thus, I added a election key dates section to replace news update section.

Improvement 7

Finding 2: Preserving Core Functionalities

Users prefer to have the option to un-star items without traveling to other nav sections and be able to view important information such as political party immediately. Thus, I decided to assign the Voter Sheet content to take up a separate entire page that can be accessed by tapping on the Voter Sheet card component as well as from progress cards from the home page.

Improvement 8

High Fidelity Prototype

General Info Final 1
General Info Final 2
General Info Final 3


Key Figures

Aside from being able to address each of our core challenges through our 3 flows, we were also able to drastically improve the quality as well as the simplicity of our user experience as shown through these figures.

Impact Figures



This was the first time that I designed and created interactive prototypes for an entire app experience that spaned multiple different flows. Despite me believing that 4 weeks is a long time, iterating on design takes a lot of time and dedication. Some of the key challenges and learnings include:

  • Making significant changes and additions based on user feedback and peer critique

  • Considering all potential edge cases

  • Applying product and design thinking to an area that is traditionally disconnected from technology

In the Future

One of the most beautiful things about being a designer is that you can be idealistic and design a solution that is solely focused on the user experience. Now that a prototype of the experience is created. I hope to build on this idea in the future. I also acknowledge that there are certain hurdles to overcome to create Populus App.

  • Technical obstacles : There are technical backend challenges to pulling and calculating data about voting centers, voting results, and wait time.

  • Partnership obstacles : The success of an app like this would definitely depend on local promotion and partnership with local government, non-profits, and voting centers.

  • Political obstacles : The implications of this app would mean that there could be more involvement of the young voter population, thus there may be political groups out there who do not benefit from young voters that will not support the promotion of this app.

Nonetheless, creating an enjoyable voting experience is highly beneficial and impactful to our future as a country. I hope that this project can inspire other people to think about how we can use design to shape the development of our society.

Thank You For Reading!