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Whitney Quesenbery

(She, Her, Hers)


"Whitney believes democracy is a design problem."

Whitney is passionate about improving the voter experience and proud of the Center for Civic Design’s work to improve the voting experience. Their Field Guides to Ensuring Voter Intent and best practices for election design from voter guides to mail-in ballot envelopes have made it easier for people to vote. The Center’s work with election officials and advocates has touched millions of voters in important ways.

Whitney combines a fascination with people and an obsession to communicate clearly with her goal of bringing user research insights to designing products where people matter. She is the author of three books with practical advice in user experience: A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experiences,  Storytelling in User ExperienceGlobal UX: Design and Research in a Connected World.

Invitations to Democracy
Explaining voting rights and participation

Presented by Sally Marsh, Michigan Department of State, United States; Whitney Quesenbery, Center for Civic Design, United States; Brenda Wright, Demos, United States

A new policy is only as good as its implementation. This is especially true of policies that aim for broad inclusion will not meet their goals if they are not explained clearly. Through three stories, we will show how lawyers, officials, and advocates can work together to make everything from forms to ballots and invitation to participation.


Our projects include

  • Inviting citizens of Michigan to join the Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission.

  • Offering people a way to register to vote while getting a driver’s license or applying for benefits.

  • Helping voters use voting methods, like vote-by-mail and ranked-choice voting, to participate in elections.


Implementing new policies to invite participation requires:

  • A collaborative process that includes officials, advocates, and community members means broader perspectives are considered as implementation is planned

  • Usability testing in community locations helps bring first-hand experience from community members into the process.

  • Experimenting with innovative formats and explanations of concepts helps put the right information into the right format for the audience.


You might find these resources useful in your work: