The midterm election is almost here–and a huge focus for many organizations is getting people to the polls. That includes voter guides, social media campaigns, and even free transportation. But for the American Civil Liberties Union, reminding people to go vote digitally is a challenge, because the organization doesn’t have its own app. Instead, its designers decided to co-opt a dead-simple UX nudge that takes advantage of the iPhone’s notifications to remind you where you need to go to vote.
The nonprofit has rolled out a feature that uses the Apple Wallet to make it easier than ever to find your polling place. First, you look up the location on the organization’s Voter website. Then, if you’re on iOS, you can save the address and hours to your iPhone’s wallet with two taps (Android users have the option to save an image to their phone). On election day, a notification will pop up with the address, serving as a convenient reminder to go vote.
Because the ACLU doesn’t have an app, hacking the Apple Wallet so that it can send you a notification reminding you to vote with all the information you need is a clever piece of UX design. “Apple Wallet has traditionally been used for train tickets or event tickets and we saw an opportunity to repurpose that for election day,” says Allen Tan, a designer on ACLU’s product team. “It’s about having a presence on people’s lock screens and having quick and easy access to this information.”
Initially, Tan says that the ACLU product team wanted to include more in the Wallet, like information about the ACLU’s stance on specific ballot initiatives. But there just wasn’t enough space–adding too much information ruined the Wallet’s UX. The final version keeps it simple by providing your polling place address and its hours. Because of the way Wallet works, the notification should live on your home screen throughout the day, constantly nudging you to do your civic duty.
“Asking people to intentionally decide to commit to vote…we’ve seen that increases people’s likelihood to turn out,” Tan says. “This on its own isn’t going to increase turnout by a lot, but it’s one of the tools that asks you to make that commitment.”
The Voter website is part of a bigger initiative at the ACLU, which has a dedicated product team devoted to building tools and data visualizations that help advance civil liberties. The ACLU hopes that by reaching more people online, it will help educate them about the organization’s work and encourage them to vote for candidates with good track records when it comes to civil liberties. And with November 6th looming, it’s more important than ever to make it easier for everyone to get to the polls.