It’s the user-testing, stupid

One of many bad ideas: not to do user testing.

”… ORCA, [the Romney campaign’s] much-touted computer system for tracking voters on Election Day, collapsed. It was supposed to be a high-tech approach to poll-watching, a system by which campaign workers would be able to track who voted. Those who had not yet voted could therefore be identified and then have volunteers tasked to finding them and getting them to the polls.

ORCA was supposed to streamline the process, but it was never stress-tested. Field operatives never saw a beta version. They asked to see it, but were told it would be ready on Election Day. When they rolled it out Tuesday, it was a mess. People couldn’t log on and when they did, the fields that were supposed to be full of data were empty. “I saw a zero and I knew I wasn’t supposed to be seeing a zero,” said one campaign worker.

A war room had been set up in the Boston Garden to monitor ORCA’s results, but in the end Romney and Ryan had to watch CNN to find out how their campaign was doing. In the end, the numbers guy was deprived of his numbers in more ways than one.”
Why Romney Never Saw It Coming. Slate, Nov 9, 2012.

User-testing matters: a couple of elections ago, the infamous butterfly ballot perhaps robbed the Democrats of the presidency.

(Thanks to @truedson for the tip.)

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