Vote-by-Phone: An Investigation of a Usable and Accessible IVR Voting System


  • Danae Holmes Rice University
  • Philip Kortum Rice University



voting, accessible, usability, IVR, universal design


One of the main goals of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was to ensure that voters with disabilities could vote privately and independently. However, the current state of most voting methods does not allow for private and independent voting for everyone. In response to this issue, we tested a remote IVR voting system developed by Author 1 and Author 2 (2013), with an added audio speed adjustment feature and synthetic voice to increase usability and accessibility, especially for visually impaired voters (Pinter, 2011). The focus of this research was to examine the viability and usability of the IVR voting system as an accessible voting platform for visually impaired voters. The system was tested by users with and without visual impairments, and usability was measured using the three ISO 9241-11 usability metrics (ISO 9241-11, 1998) of efficiency (time to complete a ballot), effectiveness (accuracy), and satisfaction (subjective usability). Results indicate that the IVR voting system could be a viable voting alternative to other established voting methods, with similar performance among sighted and visually impaired users. 

Author Biographies

Danae Holmes, Rice University

Danae Holmes received her MS in Psychology from Rice university in 2013 and her Ph.D. from Rice University in 2015. Immediately after graduation, she joined Google[x] as a User Experience Research Assistant where she supported usability efforts on numerous software and hardware designs for virtual reality, robotics, and UAV projects. She recently joined Twitch as a User Experience Researcher, focusing on mobile and gaming console platforms as well as accessibility. Her primary interests lie in incorporating human factors in new and uncommon areas and to help ensure system accessibility for a broad spectrum of users. 

Philip Kortum, Rice University

Philip Kortum received his MS from Northeastern University in 1990 and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994. He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Psychologyat Rice University in Houston, TX. Prior to joining Rice University he worked for over 15 years in the defense and telecommunications industry, where he researched and help field award-winning user-centered systems. His primary interests are in the research and development of highly usable systems in the voting and mobile computing domains and in the characterization of measures of usability and usable systems.


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How to Cite

Holmes, D., & Kortum, P. (2016). Vote-by-Phone: An Investigation of a Usable and Accessible IVR Voting System. Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, 6(2), 102-124.