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Tanvi Ranka, Arushi Juneja, Barbara Blake

Institute of Design | Fall 2018



The youth project was the outcome of a semester long workshop to better understand the design methods with Vijay Kumar. This project focused on improving voter turnout and enabling informed decisions.

Problem space

Increase participation and help a newly eligible voter understand the what and how of a complex voting system.


The low percentage of youth voters made it important to understand attitude and barriers among non voters. Among voters, creating a journey map and timeline helped arrive at guiding principles


- Analogous Models

- Eras Maps

- Research Participant Map

- Ethnographic Interviews

Framing Insights

- Observations to Insights

- Insight Clustering

- Design Principle Generation


- Workshop ( Ideation session, Role Play, Concept Generating Matrix)

Concept Development

- Ideation

- Concept evaluation

- Solution roadmap

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Value Map

We used several methods to inform our understanding of the context, including:

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Trend matrix

Initial frame

Changing voting from a discrete set of activities, considered cumbersome, exclusionary and prone to inaccuracies, to a seamless delivery of voter related services.

Knowing the user

Additionally, secondary research told us:

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After creating a participant map, we decided to focus on first time voters and non voters in the 18 - 29 age group. Among this segment, we conducted interviews to understand: 

- Associations with voting using mind map and laddering


- Journey of last experience with registration, preparing to vote and voting: method used, pain points and uncertainties


- Triggers and barriers to vote


- Influencers

Insights into why the youth doesn't vote:

// They do not see the relation between voting and the impact on their future.

// Not feeling represented well enough by either candidate.

//  A feeling of “my vote doesn’t count”: the system favors the rich and powerful, I'm not in a swing state, independent candidates won't win.

// Politics not being a part of discussion while growing up removes voting from consideration.

Inspiring and re-framing the problem


 I never voted when I turned 18..I didn’t vote until I was like 27 because I never realized that it is effecting me, my life, my paycheck, my taxes, my benefits.


Well, I don’t think either candidate represents me and my thought process, but I can’t do anything about that. I’ll just go


Our findings fell under two main buckets:

1. There is a lack of motivation to vote, and

2. the system is hard to navigate for those that do want to vote

We dug into each of these to understand them better


We never really discussed politics growing up, so I never even thought about it



Increase desire to participate in the voting process

But what happens when they want to vote?

The voting system is a highly complex and overwhelming system, that the newly eligible voter has difficulty navigating.

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Insights into what makes it hard?

- System expects active information seeking and high level of motivation /engagement preparation rather than allowing for passive behaviour.

- News channels often focus on politics rather than giving a roadmap to voting, “other things” you are voting on are not visible.

- Influences are not always informed themselves

- Young voters are far removed / distanced from the commonly known existing mediums of information dissemination, like newspapers.

- Websites that give info in a consumable way are few and not well known


Bring clarity on what to do and how to do go about the confusing process of voting


I did watch several news was just a whole lot of mudslinging


My sister had told me about how to register..she was active in all this. But she didn’t mention there would be so many things to vote on


I mostly find out about this stuff from this celebrity I follow on insta...she shares her views



We conducted an ideation session with our 2 "How Might We" statements through several activities. Some broad themes that came out:

- Developing a sense of community around voting

- Public commitment to vote, especially tapping social media

- Removal of mail based services

- Simplifying candidate research

- Simulation


Clustering individual ideas from the ideation session, we created a concept catalogue with 20 concepts.


Based on scoring, as well as our qualitative judgements, we arrived at our final solutions, which were a combination of several concepts. A 3 part systemic solution, where each part supports the other parts, but may be implemented individually as well.

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Plant a seed


  • Civics curriculum now involves research on issues and candidates.

  • Debates and discussion in class create intrigue and room to discover impact of voting on self.

  • Simulation close to elections helps understand process

  • Participation in poll voter competition increases overall interest

Problems the solution tackles​:

  • Youth doesn't see how voting effects 'them'

  • Not aware of candidates or positions on issues

  • Don’t know what to expect from an overwhelming system

Design principles:

  • Flexible for different levels of knowledge and engagement

  • Make things tangible: impact on "my life" and system

  • Make system less overwhelming

  • Leverage the influencer

Behavioural economics principles:

  • Remove obstacles to action

  • Dial up motivation

  • Reduce complexity

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Voter Kit


  • Next steps on how and where to cast ballot.

  • Sample ballot showing the candidates up for vote, along with introduction to VoteAmerica app

  • Friends and family coupons, badges, t-shirts, bands and other custom identifier to create feeling of community


Problem it tackles​

  • Maintain interest

  • Not aware of candidates or positions on issues


Design principles 

  • Build trust in the system

  • Make system less overwhelming

Behavioural economics principles

  • Reduce uncertainty

  • Stimulate action

  • Foster identity

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VoteAmerica App
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Strategy Road Map

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