Dana Chisnell discusses designing user experience for government and public in mind.

Dana Chisnell is an elections geek and UX research nerd (her words) who has trained thousands of people, including government workers to test their designs. But what she really loves is giving design literacy to the world. She’s the lead on a project to develop a series of Field Guides To Ensuring Voter Intent. The Field Guides, originally funded by a Kickstarter project, are designed to be quick, easy, and accessible help for local election officials to do the best possible design. She has won two MacArthur grants to expand the Field Guides series. She’s what you might call a “seasoned professional” who, with Jeff Rubin, wrote Handbook of Usability Testing, Second Edition. She’s design researcher at the United States Digital Service, helping teams at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and at Veterans’ Affairs create better customer experiences.

About the speaker

Dana Chisnell is an elections geek and UX research nerd (her words) who has trained thousands of people, including government workers to test their designs. But what she really loves is giving design literacy to the world. She’s the lead on a project to develop a series of Field Guides To Ensuring Voter Intent. The Field Guides, originally funded by a Kickstarter project, are designed to be quick, easy, and accessible help for local election officials to do the best possible design. She has won two MacArthur grants to expand the Field Guides series. She’s what you might call a “seasoned professional” who, with Jeff Rubin, wrote Handbook of Usability Testing, Second Edition. She’s design researcher at the United States Digital Service, helping teams at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and at Veterans’ Affairs create better customer experiences.

Dana’s talk is called “Democracy is a design problem”

This is a story about how a simple change in type size on a commonly used form led to two major wars and a world wide economic crisis. Design matters.

We keep learning this lesson on ballots, on web sites, in software and devices, and in the interactions we have with customers and users. And yet, there are glimmers of hope everywhere – successful designs where small changes made all the positive difference. Dana will discuss some of the lesser-known disasters, show some surprising successes, and share results from her research and usability testing on ballot designs and instructions to voters.

Even if your day job is seemingly far away from world-changing events, Dana will show you how you, too, can get involved and start contributing your super powers to make your world a better place.

Q&A

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career? I use a dictionary. I don’t actually think about creativity. I think about solving problems.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration? In the bottom left hand drawer. In the kitchen, that’s where the utensils are that I don’t use very often. In the dresser, that’s where the cashmere sweaters are.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person? Work. It all comes down to work.

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings? Bea Arthur (except I think she’s dead). Mike Monteiro.

If you had a magic wand, where would you be in five years? Arguing with the magic wand repairman about the warrantee running out.

What myths about creativity would you like to set straight? That creativity trumps work. It doesn’t. Work always trumps creativity.

If you could interview anyone living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why? Grace Hopper. Because Grace Hopper.

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