Fooled by best practice

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As a practice, UX is confused about what is a short cut, what is a convention, and what is a best practice. Fortunately, the process on this project revealed where all of those were broken for the …

As a practice, UX is confused about what is a short cut, what is a convention, and what is a best practice. Fortunately, the process on this project revealed where all of those were broken for the target users: people with low literacy.

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  • 1. Fooled by best practice ! ! ! Dana Chisnell UsabilityWorks and Center for Civic Design
 dana@centerforcivicdesign.org @danachis
  • 2. The eureka moment
  • 3. “Choice” was the wrong choice.
  • 4. The project of a lifetime
  • 5. $7,000,000
  • 6. What if anyone could vote on any device?
  • 7. Designing for the invisible
  • 8. Low literacy 48% of US adults linear reading literal meaning
  • 9. Best practices Embed assistance Include illustrations Add supplemental content Prevent unintentional voting or skipping
  • 10. 2007 2008 Started with 
 best practice
  • 11. Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine REALM
  • 12. Participants of the REALM
  • 13. Process related research competitors design principles sketching paper prototypes digital prototypes
  • 14. Process 33 sessions at least 3 iterations up to 20
  • 15. The promise of “best practices”
  • 16. Best practice: Someone else has made the mistakes already.
  • 17. Conventions are enforced learned behavior The way things are usually done
  • 18. Best practices v. 
 conventions ALT text 
 captions on videos
 good contrast 
 obviously clickable 
 relevant illustrations
  • 19. Best practices v. 
 conventions scroll bar behavior 
 save as v. duplicate 
 mega menus 
 pull to refresh
 hamburger menus
  • 20. Shortcuts (that we confuse with conventions)
  • 21. Avoiding reinvention
  • 22. Why “choice” was bad
  • 23. Voting Summary deciding decided
  • 24. Before After
  • 25. Lessons learned
  • 26. Before After
  • 27. Before After
  • 28. Before After
  • 29. Trust the process
  • 30. The process proved 
 the conventions 
 were broken
  • 31. Plain interaction
  • 32. Plain interaction The fewest, simplest steps with maximal focus on the user’s immediate next interaction.
  • 33. “Best practice” is not enough.
  • 34. Thank you.
  • 35. Dana Chisnell
 Center for Civic Design and 
 dana@centerforcivicdesign.org centerforcivicdesign.org 
 
 
 @danachis
 @ChadButterfly
  • 36. P.S. Try out a prototype of the ballot for yourself at anywhereballot.com