A 14 week project for transdisciplinary SMPL x DSGN Studio at ArtCenter College of Design. Fall 2020

The Team:

Makenna Kesterson - Industrial Design

Anthony Palileo - Interaction Design

The Brief:

The technologically advanced nation of Populus with 40M citizens seeks to update its voting process for future elections to increase voter turnout with a secure and trustworthy system.

The Challenge: 

Redesign the voting experience to create a better democracy.

How it Works

The System

The Selection system seeks to provide citizens with multiple channels of engagement, with consideration for digital voting remotely, while retaining an in-person alternative. All votes are immediately secured in a blockchain network, ensuring every ballot is permanent and immutable.


With a majority of citizens first engaging with the system through their mobile devices, the interface had to be carefully designed to allow all citizens equal opportunity to participate. Citizens are able to vote remotely, pre-vote with their device, or use their device to access the in-person interface.


VoteBox is the in person experience that allows all users the ability to have active participation in democracy. Parametric audio allows all users to have auditory feedback and information. The welcoming interior is balanced with a secure exterior, communicating the high security that blockchain technology provides.

VoteBox Console + UI

The in person physical interface will feature an e-ink display which is easier on the eyes and battery. The UI is designed to have clear distinction between three areas: the ballot summary, the ballot detail and the voter guide. A manual control dial is offered for greater accessibility.


No other voting system offers the follow up aspect of the receipt. Users have a tangible and informative link to their votes, also helping users keep record of their vote. Users will also be able to review their ballots after submission.

Building Trust in Blockchain

The system’s use of blockchain technology is the cornerstone of it’s security - but how do we communicate this to citizens? Following the journey of the blockchain encrypted vote and how blockchain works is a vital communication tool for users.

Simplifying the application of blockchain technology for submitting votes.

The Process

Understanding Users

Our interviewees and survey participants included voters of varying experience in elections as well as levels of trust in current systems. We looked into their methods of information gathering and decision making, and gauged their feelings toward a fully digital, remote voting experience.

Sketching Solutions

The sketch ideation process focused on creating form factors that were visually interesting and functional for the physical component while ideation for the interfaces required clarity of navigation and user controls.

Designing for Accessibility and Inclusion

We set out to ensure that every citizen of Populus was given an equal opportunity to participate in the election process. This meant designing both the physical and digital interfaces with adjustability and redundancy for both input and feedback.

Ensuring Certainty

Particular controls require added commitment to minimize user error. Requiring citizens to hold a button rather than tap help to capture their sentiments more accurately. Casting votes and final submission of ballots fall into this category of controls.

Future Considerations

Our product roadmap spans two election cycles and includes analytics which will be evaluated after the second cycle for properly addressing turnout needs. We will publish these results (not actual votes; remote vs. in-person submissions) to inform and involve the public in decisions regarding potential transition to full remote voting.


Makenna Kesterson

A brilliant industrial designer interested in making lives better through simple yet impactful design. Find her work at

SMPL x DSGN Studio

As a full-service, multi-disciplinary mock design agency, we work closely with our clients to define, design & develop transformative product & user experiences across a variety of industries. See more at

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