Directors

The Center for Civic Design is led by co-directors Dana Chisnell and Whitney Quesenbery, working with a team of amazing researchers and designers.

Whitney Quesenbery

Whitney Quesenbery: headshot, conducting research, giving a talk in Hong Kong 2012
Whitney’s work in civic design began with her appointment to the EAC Federal advisory committee writing the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), including the first usability requirements for voting systems. She brings her expertise in research methods, accessibility and plain language, and a passion for understanding the story behind the data to her work.

She served on the U.S. Access Board’s advisory committee updating the Section 508 accessibility regulations, co-authored the Brennan Center for Justice’ seminal publications, Better Ballots (2008) and Better Design: Better Elections (2012). She coordinated the EAC-funded Accessible Voting Technology Initiative, managing 15 grants on voting for people with disabilities, including the Anywhere Ballot project.

She’s the author of three books: A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experience andStorytelling in User Experience (Rosenfeld Media, 2014 and 2011), Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World (Morgan Kauffman, 2012). Her Masters of Social Research Methods from the Open University focused on how and why young people vote. She teaches UX research at Rutgers University.

Dana Chisnell

Dana Chisnell - headshot, running a workshop, taking notes at a session

Dana brings deep experience in civic design, starting with research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) into the use of language in instructions on ballots (with Ginny Redish), and work on standards and testing for poll worker documentation for the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). She is also an expert in plain language and usability for older adults, including ground-breaking work at AARP that was the basis for several requirements in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

She teaches design in government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and recently came off a 2-year stint as “generalist problem solver” for the United States Digital Service, doing user research and civic design across agencies.

As the editor of the Field Guides To Ensuring Voter Intent, she has taught thousands of election officials how to improve ballots, web sites and other election materials to ensure voter intent. She worked on the Anywhere Ballot, a ballot marking interface tested for accessibility by people with cognitive disabilities and low literacy.

Dana and Jeff Rubin wrote the Handbook of Usability Testing Second Edition (Wiley 2008), the seminal book on the topic.