The Voting Experience Redesign Initiative (VERI) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
Stephen Melamed, Adjunct Associate Professor Industrial Design, University of Illinois at Chicago; Principal, Tres Design Group
Marcia Lausen, Associate Professor Graphic Design, University of Illinois at Chicago; Principal, Studio/Lab Voter Research provided by Sapient
Following the November 2000 election, several nationally recognized groups studied the election system using traditionally segmented methods. Their conclusions were, by and large, framed as either problems with the legal system or deficiencies in vote-casting mechanisms.
Originating first as an AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) Chicago initiative, Design for Democracy was founded as a nonprofit, multidisciplinary organization whose mission is to improve the informational and physical systems involved in the American voting experience through education and user-centered research, evaluation, industrial, graphic, and strategic design, in order to support an environment in which every voter counts.
Research conducted for Design for Democracy by Sapient and the students of the University of Illinois at Chicago has led to the development of proposals for improved signage, navigation tools, educational and instructional methods, vote-casting equipment, document-handling systems, and numerous other challenges faced by election officials throughout the country.