Thursday, February 6, 2020

Iowa Caucus Fiasco, Software Apps, and User Simplicity

The Iowa Caucus delay in reporting results was an embarrassing fiasco for Democrats, Iowa, and the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP).

Most of the delay was caused by the new app they rolled out for reporting results.  It is a reminder of the importance of User Experience and User Simplicity, which is part of the Strategic Simplicity® framework that I consult on, to improve performance.

From what I read, there were 3 issues:

1. The app was rushed and not tested well, so it produced problems transferring results to the Iowa Democratic Party's  (IDP) database.

2. The user experiences was bad.  The app itself was designed well but, to install it, you had to go through a complex procedure.  For people with iPhones, they first had to install another app to then be able to install this one.  For Android, people had to change settings.

3. Because it was hard to install, and people said they didn't receive adequate training, 75% of the people went to the old way of calling the results in, but the IDP didn't staff enough phone lines (since they expected people to use the app).

I think the main, underlying problem is that they used it for the first time here.  They should have first rolled it out during a sleepy, mid-term election

© 2020 Praveen Puri