Our UX approach: key to the fastest elections results in Argentina

Smartmatic has a team of five UX experts, who pass along the basic principles of this practice to the rest of the organization.

January 06, 2020

Our UX approach: key to the fastest elections results in Argentina

Election Insights

Argentina’s general election in October ended with a provisional vote count that was hailed as “the quickest, most precise and transparent in the history of Argentinian democracy” by Rogelio Frigerio, Minister of the Interior, Public Works and Housing.  

Undoubtedly, this feat is the result of the combined effort of Smartmatic, Argentine authorities, election operators, volunteers and many others. Nonetheless, our UX/UI team also deserves some special credit. As a survey suggests, the approach to product development used to develop the solution used in Argentina proved crucial in the delivery of fast and accurate results which were validated by all stakeholders.

A survey conducted by trusted Argentine pollster MFG Consultores revealed that:

  • 97.9% of election operatives described the software’s operability as “simple” or “very simple.”
  • 89% of these operatives considered the transmission process from the polling centers to have been “speedy” or “very speedy”.
  • 92.3% had no problems in carrying out the tasks assigned to them.  

Fabiola Arrivillaga, Smartmatic’s UX/UI manager, tells us that, “the levels of acceptance shown in the survey are a direct result of Smartmatic’s work developing empathy, questioning every decision we made, and making sure we took into consideration the end user’s experience. For months we studied which elements of our solution would improve the user’s experience. With this in mind, we selected our content strategy, adjusted screen flows, and created clear instructions, always avoiding the use of confusing technical jargon. We are very pleased with the results.”

In Argentina, 11,830 election operators were tasked with capturing and transmitting the tallying reports (called “telegrams” in Argentina) coming from 10,009 polling centres and 1,130 digital hubs. Those operators interacted directly with Smartmatic technology and showed how pleased they were with it in the survey. “The fact that election operators are expressing such level of satisfaction with our technologies fills us with pride,” added Fabiola.

Smartmatic has a team of five UX experts, who pass along the basic principles of this practice to the rest of the organization. Fabiola defines her team’s work as a passion for exploring, learning, creating, and developing technology always with the end user in mind. “We strive to offer products and services that are really user-centered. We work as hard as we can to solve the challenges that thousands of nameless heroes deal with during an election.”

Focusing on UX is not exclusive to Smartmatic. Leaders in other industries, such as Google and Amazon, also employ this practice. However, Smartmatic deals with elections, where user-friendliness takes on an even bigger role. “Elections are key for the stability and democracy of any country. The responsibility of having results processed efficiently and transparently is an enormous challenge. To deliver success, we have to understand the depth of the processes these election operatives are executing, and the legal framework that rules the election. We also need to keep in mind at all times two key elements: security and transparency.”

Our UX team is already thinking about their next challenge. They are finding ways to apply what they learned in Argentina to future projects. As Fabiola states, “Learning never stops. We need to learn from every comment and suggestion. There is no such thing as negative feedback. Despite our success, we need to put away all the praise in a drawer, so we don’t develop a ‘know-it-all’ attitude. We have to keep working together and learn from every experience.”