After graduating with a BSc in Product Design in 2017 and working for several years as a UX/UI designer in the tech industry, I decided to undertake the MSc in UX Design in IADT. My overarching goal when starting the course was to gain experience with academic research as well as gaining deeper theoretical knowledge of experience design. My research focused on the effect of trust inducing UI principles and data visualisation on the trust placed in voter advice applications. I am currently working as a Product Designer in Kitman Labs, designing software for the sports and performance science industry.
Voter Advice Applications (VAAs) are tools provided to the electorate to allow them to find candidates or parties with similar political viewpoints to themselves. They are present in the majority of EU countries as well as New Zealand, Australia, and the United States and have long been the subject of research into their effectiveness and impact. In addition, interface design has been long recognised as having an impact on the trustworthiness of websites. This project looked to analyse a number of popular VAAs from a user experience lens and carry out a user centred design process while investigating the impact of trust inducing UI principles and enhanced data visualisation on the trustworthiness of these tools.
User experience design as well as data visualisation and the interface design of a website has been proven to have an impact on the trustworthiness of websites. In spite of this, there has previously been no research carried out which looked at the impact of user experience design on the trustworthiness of VAAs. This research looked to address that gap. In particular, the effect of the use of trust principles from literature and enhanced data visualisation on the trust, satisfaction, usability and experience of their users were tested with the hope of increasing the trustworthiness from a current VAA. In addition, a UX analysis of popular VAAs was carried out as there was a lack of previous research in this area, and a survey and qualitative research was carried out to gauge the general public's interest in and thoughts around VAAs.
This research set out to look at the effects of trust principles from research as well as data visualisation on users’ trust, satisfaction, and the usability of VAAs. While the overall findings were not statistically significant, a number of factors such as risk and appearance were positively affected by the changes. In addition, user attitudes towards these tools were queried with users finding VAAs useful and enjoying the matching element of them. As stated previously, this is an area of VAAs in which there is very little research. While the main goal of the research was to investigate whether trust principles from literature and data visualisation could increase trust, satisfaction, and usability, the other goal of this research was to address a gap in the literature regarding trust in VAAs. This study not only addressed ways of potentially increasing trust, but it also studied users’ current levels of trust as well as their attitudes towards VAAs. Of the current research on VAAs, very few studies have looked at these tools from a user point of view, the findings around trust and appearance in this study show that there is potential for further user focused research in this area as well as highlighting the need for user experience input in these tools going forward.
VAAs have been subjected to much research since their inception. However, trust and data visualisation are two aspects of VAAs in which there is a lack of research. This paper looked to address these gaps by carrying out a user centred design process while applying trust principles and data visualisation techniques to three prototype VAAs, before testing the level of trust, satisfaction, usability, and experience of their users. While the findings were not statistically significant for the primary topics, significant results were found in the perceived risk and appearance of these prototype VAAs suggesting that user centred design may have a role to play in the development of VAAs going forward.