“Democracy is a Design Problem”

There are many ways to think about user experience in terms of the designing of interactive documents. One of the more high-stakes but simple examples are voting ballots. If you’re looking for a case to use in a technical communication course about how failures in technical communication have profound political and sociological ramifications, you might consider the case of the 2000 election, with Palm Beach County and Theresa LePore. Students can consult Civic Design, specifically the Field Guide for Designing Usable Ballots. Stewart Brand’s articulation of “pace layers” might serve as a good framework for how technology moves faster than policy changes.

This post was inspired by the work of Whitney Quesenbery, as presented at the 3rd Annual Symposium on Communicating Complex Information (SCCI) at East Carolina University.

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