Whitney Quesenbery

"Stories connect us"

By day, I'm a user experience researcher. I've worked with the National Cancer Institute, IEEE, the Open University, and a collection of software companies, helping them make their sites and apps easier to use.

For the past 11 years, I've also been an advocate for better usability and accessibility in elections. I've tested ballots, trained election officials, worked with Design for Democracy, and served on two federal advisory committees - one for the EAC on voting systems, and one for the US Access Board refreshing the "Section 508" accessibility guidelines. I've worked on projects like "Better Ballots" and contributed to improving ballots and election law in several states. Right now, I'm working with the Accessible Voting Technologies Initiative, exploring innovative ideas for accessible elections.

I'm also the author of 2 and a half books. The first, Storytelling in UX, challenges all of us to use stories to help us imagine - to understand our audience, and envision ways to make things work better. The second, Global UX, is based on interviews with 65+ practitioners around the world and tackled the question: what does it mean to be global. The half is a current project on universal design for the web, with Sarah Horton.

Recent Contributions View all contributions

Thumbnail : Poster visualizing the concept described below.

The Universal Polling Place

Polling places are "found spaces" re-used for voting. This makes it difficult to...
Thumbnail : A cartoon showing how an issue can be the first step in motivating someone to vote.

Personal voter guidance system

Voting starts long before the official election days - we get motivated to vote by issues,...
Thumbnail : Visual representation of the voting steps described below. I

Mark anywhere

Make it easy for voters to mark their ballot anywhere, then bring them to the polling place...

My Recommendations

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Pierce Gordon

April 07, 2014, 05:18AM

My name is Pierce Gordon, a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley. As a member of a group in a course at the Information School, we're running a study upon the innovative OpenIDEO community about the user experience.

We found you're a select designer of the OpenIDEO system that has been highly active in the system in many ways. We have selected you because of your active involvement, and expert opinion upon the use of the OpenIDEO website.

Would you like to participate in an online focus group of the website? If so, we would love to participate in a Google Hangout discussion with you, and a collection of up to five other active designers, upon the user experience of the OpenIDEO website.

All of our information will be disemminated to OpenIDEO engineers for the sake of bettering the community you have worked so hard to contribute

Please contact me at piercegordon1@gmail.com, or the OpenIDEO profile http://www.openideo.com/profiles/1225020236, if you are interested. Hope to hear from you soon!


August 07, 2012, 20:44PM
It's really impressive of all your concepts for a better design of voting systems. Actually this is exactly what we are working on now! We designed and launched a mobile voting app for absentee voters (uniformed and overseas voters) to apply to vote and to cast ballot. Expecially, the Android version has Text to Speech and Shake to Vote features for disable people. Although it is only a beta version now, we need people to help test it in a Mock Election environment. If this interests you, please search "abvote" on App Store or Google Play. Test it and give us any comment. Many thanks!

Elizabeth Dunbar

February 06, 2012, 00:25AM
I am floored by all the inspirations you've contributed to this challenge. You are clearly a dedicated advocate for disabled voters and are creating quite the inspirational wake here. Hats off!

Vincent Cheng

March 29, 2012, 01:12AM
Agreed with Elizabeth, inspired by & learned so much from all of your inspirations, the concepts from the design workshop, and your helpful comments throughout. Thanks so much for all you've done for this challenge and accessible elections!

Whitney Quesenbery

April 03, 2012, 20:56PM
Thank Vincent and Elizabeth. It was a real pleasure being among so many creative people, all thinking about access to elections. I'm still absorbing all the great ideas.
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