Dana Chisnell Lecture: “Democracy is a design problem”

“Democracy is a design problem: How changes in design change the outcomes of elections,” a lecture by Dana Chisnell, co-director of the Center for Civic Design, will be held Tuesday, January 28.

Tuesday, January 28 at noon
Chace Center, RISD Museum, Metcalf Auditorium
sponsored by Votelab, a project by Benjamin Shaykin (Critic, Graphic Design) and RISD’s Academic Commons Program

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.

Dana Chisnell is the person federal, state, and local election officials call on when they need to do something about ballot usability and design.

Over the last 10 years, Dana Chisnell has trained more thousands election officials to test the design of their ballots to avoid costly mistakes and unwarranted attention. She’s given highly rated presentations and workshops for a dozen state election departments and conferences, as well as voter advocacy groups and secretaries of state.

She is the co-director of the Center for Civic Design, a visiting scientist in the political science department at MIT, and a consulting expert to AIGA’s Design for Democracy Project. She’s the managing editor of the Field Guides To Ensuring Voter Intent.

Academic Commons Program, Benjamin Shaykin, Dana Chisnell, News