We think that user experience — including usability, accessibility, plain language — are critical for democracy, elections and civic activities.

Usability in Civic Life  is run by volunteers – usability super heroes – working on short and long-term projects to bring usability and a better experience to the human and technological systems that make up our civic environment.

We speak out as public advocates, adding our voice to calls for better accessibility, plain language and design of the information, interactions, and services that we all use.

We are non-partisan and non-profit.

Read our ethics guidelines for work in civic design.

Our projects

We organize projects that mobilize user experience professionals to improve the design and usability of elections and other aspects of civic life. Project often come up quickly, and need answers equally quickly.

To meet this need we’ve created the flash usability test. A flash usability test takes careful planning, but the sessions can be run with little or no special equipment.
With several different teams working simultaneously, we can run more sessions, cover different geographical areas, and collect enough data to provide strong results. Past projects have worked with as few as 12 people, and as many as 100. Dana Chisnell wrote about how this works in Wilder than testing in the wild: usability testing by flash mob

Activities in ElectionsPlain LanguageAccessibility

Usability in Civic Life was founded in 2001 as  the UPA Voting and Usability Project, and continued as a project of User Experience Professionals Association. We work closely with other election design groups including civicdesigning.org, Design for Democracy, and the Center for Civic Design.

Activities have included workshops with UX professionals, presentations, work with election officials and advocates for better elections.  Chronology of project activities

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