Democracy is a Design Problem: Ballot Design Studio

This session is essentially about design constraints. IAs — indeed UX designers of all stripes — deal with constraints in their work, every day: business goals and rules, technology and infrastructure limits, users’ contexts and imaginations. Election officials face these very constraints, and more, whenever they design ballots.

This session is for people with a passion for design who want to know how the little things they do can change the world, in a concrete, proven way. If you’re trained in information architecture or experience design, interested in fair elections or in what happens before Nate Silver crunches the numbers, or if you're looking for a way to affect world peace, come to this session. This is probably the most important session in the Free World. And we’re not kidding.

We bring you an exercise in designing for democracy. Attendees join a design studio in which they will learn the typical constraints election officials face in making usable ballots.

Then, together, we’ll work on solving a design problem at the core of world peace. The main part of the session will be a workshop. Attendees will work alone and in groups to sketch design concepts for solving the design constraints. Each team will then present their sketches to the entire group. If there’s time, teams will iterate designs based on questions and feedback from the presentations.

Finally, we’ll give pointers on how you can make elections better in your neighborhood.