I can't find what i'm looking for


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A talk about findings from research about county election websites
June 2013

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I can't find what i'm looking for

  1. 1. I can’t find what I’m looking for! How to answer voters’ questions on your website Dana Chisnell @danachis @ChadButterfly
  2. 2. What questions did you have about the election?
  3. 3. How did you find out the answers?
  4. 4. Cataloged 147 election websites Conducted 41 remote moderated usability tests
  5. 5. Cataloging
  6. 6. Thank you • Michelle Milla • Samantha LeVan • Karen McGrane • Kate Aurigemma • Krysta Chauncey • Erin Liman • Karen Bachmann • Alessandra Brophy • Rosa Moran • Cyd Harrell • Jenny Greeve • Whitney Quesenbery • Josie Scott • Andrea Fineman • Rachel Goddard
  7. 7. Factoids 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
  8. 8. Remote moderated usability testing
  9. 9. What questions did you have about the election?
  10. 10. What questions did you have about the election?
  11. 11. Just follow the script.
  12. 12. Thank you Andrea Moed Jacqui Adams Kristen Johansen Josh Keyes Boaz Gurdin Josh Bright Ashley Pearlman Doug Hanke Donald A. Cox Cyd Harrell Kamaria Campbell Whitney Quesenbery Paul Schreiber Andrea Fineman Jenn Downs
  13. 13. What happened?
  14. 14. Factoids 33 of 41 participants looked online for answers 23 went to county websites
  15. 15. Voters are ballot-centric they’re focused on that act, not conscious of the overall process
  16. 16. What’s on the ballot?
  17. 17. ? ? ?
  18. 18. ? ? ?
  19. 19. ! ?
  20. 20. If voters don’t know what is on the ballot they are more likely to go to third-party sources they are less likely to show up at the right polling place they’re likely to undervote down-ballot they are less likely to turn out
  21. 21. Website design problems are well understood sites are hard to find find other sources navigation reflects department don’t know where to go labels are jargon don’t know how to get to content dates and deadlines are vague don’t know when to act graphics are gratuitous get distracted or lost in the site, lose trust sites are not accessible disenfranchisement
  22. 22. What’s on the ballot? What are my options for voting? absentee what’s the deadline to apply? what do I have to do to get one? when is it due? early voting Election Day where do I vote? where do I vote?
  23. 23. what’s the deadline to apply? where do I vote? what do I have to do to get one? when is it due? who is in office now? do I need ID to vote? what’s the deadline for registering? where do I vote?
  24. 24. But sites showed nearly the opposite process.
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. What to do
  27. 27. Establish... you’re on a government website it’s the election website this is the source you want when the next election is
  28. 28. Priority content 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?
  29. 29. Information architecture the ballot voting options current office holders where to vote voter ID registering to vote what to expect how to vote military and overseas voters election results
  30. 30. 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.
  31. 31. 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.
  32. 32. New tools.
  33. 33. Field Guides series Research commissioned by EAC Research commissioned by NIST Usability and Civic Life Project Research commissioned by NIST
  34. 34. Coming soon Communicating with voters Research funded by Kickstarter and MacArthur Foundation Designing voter ed booklets & flyers Research funded by Kickstarter and MacArthur Foundation Designing election department websites Guiding voters through the polling place Research funded by Kickstarter and MacArthur Foundation Research funded by Kickstarter and MacArthur Foundation
  35. 35. Coming soon Anywhere ballot funded by ITIF (EAC AVTI)
  36. 36. Field Guides To Ensuring Voter Intent civicdesigning.org /fieldguides
  37. 37. Thank you.
  38. 38. Dana Chisnell dana@civicdesigning.org civicdesigning.org @danachis @ChadButterfly
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