Can UX Save Elections


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NYC World Usability Day 2011 - short talk on user experience and elections

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  • 2 elections.\nLooked like “oops, we forgot the usability”\n....and then...\n
  • Realized that it’s a bigger problem. \nUnderstood need (sort of), but no skills to help create a good voting experience.\nLet’s look at what happened over the next 11 years [*]\n
  • New law: Help America Vote Act\nNew agency: Election Assistance Commission\nNew standards: Voting system guidelines with a whole chapter on u+a (and a pretty good one)\nAnd research to document the impact of ballot design and instructions on elections. [*]\n
  • AIGA’s design for democracy project was hired to create best practice templates, which are available for any ballot designer to use.\nSo... by now you might think that we’d be seeing a lot of great ballot design [*]\n
  • In 2010, this is what voters in New York City were confronted with. \n[*] The part I like the best is that the instructions say to fill in the oval ABOVE the person you want to vote for. But ... they were on the back in 6 point text... so no one ever saw them. [ Hat tip to Michele Marut ]\n
  • Question we have to ask is what we -- or anyone -- can do about this.\nIt’s a big, messy, dispersed system, with lots of stakeholders and no real center. \nOne answer is that we can do what we do.\n
  • One Saturday in October 2010 a dozen UX folks asked 200 people to mark a ballot to see what kinds of problems they had. That data helped the Brennan Center in its advocacy for election. It was kind of crazy, but ... worked\n
  • In a longer project for Minnesota we redesigned the instructions for absentee voting after challenges and recounts meant that Al Franken’s election was not decided until June 2009. My favorite part of this project: when Beth Fraser decided that she wanted a second usability test... and her office ran it themselves.\n
  • One of our current projects is supporting efforts to change the election laws in NY State. Drew Davies and Oxide Design created a demonstration ballot to show what the changes would make possible.\n
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  • Because, as Dana Chisnell puts it, we have super powers that can change the world.\n\nIf you’re interested - send me an email or give me your card, and I’ll put you on the list.\n
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  • Can UX Save Elections

    1. 1. Can user experience save elections? Whitney Quesenbery Usability in Civic Life at NYC UPA World Usability Day 2011
    2. 2. In 2000...
    3. 3. "I was trying tomake the print biggerso elderly people in PalmBeach County can read it.We sent out sample ballotsto all registered voters, andno one said a word." Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections
    4. 4. 2002 2005 2008
    5. 5. AIGA Design for Democracy
    6. 6. 2010
    7. 7. What can we do about it?
    8. 8. We can run flash tests 12 UX professionals 5 democracy rights advocates 4 boroughs 1 Saturday afternoon 200 ballotsChris Fahey, Jessica Friedman, Whitney Hess, Jonathan Knoll, Michele Marut, Paul Erb, Greg Palmer, AshleyPearlman, Mary Quant, Aaron Schwartz, Dana Chisnell, Whitney Quesenbery and the Brennan Center for Justice.
    9. 9. We can build communities to support election officials Illustrations Plain language Usability testing Information designDana Chisnell, Josie Scott, Caroline Jarett, Dana Botka, Sarah Swierenga, Ginny Redish, David Rosen, Josh Carroll,Suzanne Curie, John Dusek, Gretchen Enger, Christina Syniewski, Whitney Quesenbery, and the Office of theMinnesota Secretary of State: Beth Fraser, Andy Lokken, Michele McNulty, Gary Poser
    10. 10. We can design election laws Redesign by Oxide Design
    11. 11. We can remember to design for all voters Photos from AADL, HHH Center, 1 Vote 1 Value
    12. 12. We can remember to design for all voters
    13. 13. We can be democracy super heroes HT to Dana Chisnell
    14. 14. Whitney Quesenberywhitneyq@wqusability.comTwitter @whitneyqSlideshare