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A Better Ballot for New York State in 2012

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In 2010, New York State used paper ballots for the first time. This presentation offers a design concept for how NY ballots can use the design guidelines in the EAC ballot templates to make New York …

In 2010, New York State used paper ballots for the first time. This presentation offers a design concept for how NY ballots can use the design guidelines in the EAC ballot templates to make New York State ballots more readable, while still working within current election law.

Design mockup by Drew Davies, Oxide Design Co. and AIGA Design for Democracy

Analysis and presentation by Whitney Quesenbery, WQusability and UPA Usability in Civic Life

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  • Coming soonEffective election department web siesDelivering useful voter educationEffective design for vote-by-mailDesigning multi-language ballotsFunded by Kickstarter and now MacArthur Foundation
  • Transcript

    • 1. A better ballot forNew York Statein 2012Whitney QuesenberyWQusability / Usability in Civic LifeDrew DaviesOxide Design Co / AIGA Design for Democracy
    • 2. A - Instructions at the top, B - Rows have all C - Uncluttered voting areas makes D - Ballotin larger text and required items, candidate names easier to see, and identification has aillustration of a correct with clear party allows larger text. strong visualmark. names hierarchyA D EB C F G HE - Shading and heavier line F - Ovals to the left of the G - Single sans-serif H - Message remindsweights between contests names puts ovals in direct font creates unified voters to look at bothhelps distinguish single- proximity to each design with good sides of the ballot andcolumn and multi-column candidate readabilltiy reduces roll-offcontests.
    • 3. A Instructions where voters need - and will see - themBest practice New York election lawPlace instructions in the upper-left corner of the Allows instructions to be continued on the backballot, where they will be read first. of the ballot.Put each instruction in its own paragraph, so Nothing prohibits the illustration, showingeach one stands out. correct ballot marking.Shading separates instructions from the rest ofthe ballot.Ilustration shows the correct way to mark.
    • 4. B Row headers make party names clear
    • 5. C Voting squares are clean and uncluttered Best practice New York election law Show what’s most important – the candidate and Row identifiers in the voting square. party. Oval “above or next to” the name. Avoid clutter around candidate names. Candidate names in a uniform font. Make text big enough. Left-align text (not centered).
    • 6. D The ballot is easy to identify Best practice New York election law Use font size and weight to create a visual hierarchy of the Requires specific identification information to identify the ballot. information, but does not specify Use page numbers. the location.
    • 7. E Shading and line weights separate contests Best practice New York election law Use contrast, color, and line weights to separate No requirement for the weight of instructions from contests and contests from each lines. other. Line weights create strong boundaries. Thick lines separate contests. Thin lines separate candidates.
    • 8. F Voting oval is to the left of the nameG A single font is easy to read Best practice New York election law Ovals to the left of the names puts ovals in direct Oval “above or next to” the name. proximity to each candidate. Candidate names in a uniform font. A single sans-serif font used on the whole ballot. Bold text used for emphasis.
    • 9. H Instructions are where they are needed Best practice New York election law Instruction to turn ballot over is placed in the bottom right, No requirements. at the end of the last column or row on the page.
    • 10. We are here to help Usability in Civic Life Whitney Quesenbery http://usabilityinciviclife.org whitney@wqusability.com Design for Democracy Drew Davies http://ww.aiga.org/ drew@oxidedesign.com design-for-democracy/ Civic Design Dana Chisnell http://civicdesigning.org dana@usabilityworks.net A project of Usability in Civic Life usabilityinciviclife.org
    • 11. Field Guides to Ensuring Voter IntentSummaries of useful, field-tested, best practices in a pocket guidebook.Download or order printed copiesResearch Research Usability in Civic Life Researchcommissioned commissioned and industry best commissionedby EAC by NIST practices by NIST http://civicdesigning.org/fieldguides

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