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Answering voters' questions at county election websites

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Voters think about elections differently from how election administrators do. …

Voters think about elections differently from how election administrators do.

A presentation to NASED in San Francisco 2014.

Published in: Design

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  • 1. Answering 
 voters’ questions 
 at county 
 election websites
 
 Dana Chisnell @danachis @ChadButterfly
  • 2. Answering 
 voters’ questions 
 at county 
 election websites
 
 Dana Chisnell @danachis @ChadButterfly
  • 3. What questions did you have about the election?
  • 4. How did you find out the answers?
  • 5. Cataloged 147 election websites Conducted 41 remote moderated usability tests
  • 6. Cataloging
  • 7. 94% of the population lives in a county that has an elections website 
 Of 3,057 counties or equivalent, 966 didn’t have websites (31.5%)
 “election department” varied by region Insights
  • 8. Remote moderated usability testing
  • 9. What questions did you have about the election?
  • 10. What questions did you have about the election?
  • 11. What happened?
  • 12. Insights 33 of 41 participants looked online for answers
 23 went to county websites

  • 13. Insights None had been to a state election website
  • 14. Voters are ballot-centric they’re focused on that act, not conscious of the overall process
  • 15. What’s on the ballot?
  • 16. ? ? ?
  • 17. ? ? ?
  • 18. ! ?
  • 19. Bad news Voters don’t think to look in the polling place lookup widget for ballots They don’t expect to have to give personal information to get their ballot They’re unaware that their ballot could be unique
  • 20. What’s on the ballot? What are my options for voting? absentee early voting Election Day what’s the 
 deadline to apply? what do I have to do to get one? when is it due? where do I vote? where do I vote?
  • 21. what’s the 
 deadline to apply? what do I have to do to get one? when is it due? where do I vote? where do I vote? who is in office now? do I need ID to vote? what’s the deadline for registering?
  • 22. But sites showed nearly the opposite process.
  • 23. Elections = process 1.register 2.voting options 3.polling place location 4.voter ID 5.current office holders 6.military and overseas voters 7.sample ballot
  • 24. What to do
  • 25. Establish... you’re on a government website it’s the election website this is the source you want when the next election is
  • 26. What’s on the ballot? How do I vote if I can’t get to the polling place? Who are my reps now, and what districts am I in? Where do I vote? Do I have to show ID? Priority content
  • 27. Help voters find your website. Connect your website to other government sites. Answer the question: ‘What’s on the ballot?’ Group navigation to answer voters’ questions. Help visitors know what site they are on and what will be covered there.
  • 28. Write links that use words voters use. Put the most important information in the main menu or the center. Help voters find ballot information. Use words that voters use in links, headings, and graphics. Help voters see at a glance what each chunk of information is about.
  • 29. NOI & DemocracyWorks 
 pilot 
 
 (funded by 
 Omidyar Network)
  • 30. 2012-13: found voters’ mental models are opposite LEO process orientation 2014: tested sites with people who are blind or have low vision
  • 31. 29 websites from a range of jurisdictions from the largest to fairly small participants used their own 
 assistive technology
  • 32. Find out date of the next election 
 n=52
 37 succeeded (71%) Find out what’s on the ballot
 n=55
 34 succeeded (62%) Find information about accessible voting
 n=54
 27 succeeded (50%)

  • 33. all the sites had issues participants using screen magnifiers were more likely to be successful than those using screen readers participants using sites from larger jurisdictions reported more problems
  • 34. Field Guides To Ensuring 
 Voter Intent ! civicdesigning. org/fieldguides ! !
  • 35. Thank you.
  • 36. Dana Chisnell
 
 dana@centerforcivicdesign.org centerforcivicdesign.org anywhereballot.com/library
 
 
 @danachis
 @ChadButterfly