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Usability Professionals’ Association President Joins Election Assistance Commission’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 6, 2004


Bloomingdale, IL: Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) President Whitney Quesenbery has been appointed to the United States Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Technical Guidelines Development Committee. This group will draft new standards for voting systems used in the United States.

“I’m pleased to see usability included in these guidelines,” Quesenbery said. “Too often, a focus on technology and security eclipses the importance of creating voting systems that people can use easily.”

The Election Assistance Commission was created as part of the Help America Vote Act, which will also make $2.3 billion in federal funds available for replacing outdated voting systems. The first meeting of the guidelines committee will be held in Washington DC on July 9.

UPA has been an advocate for more usable voting systems, in the US and internationally, through its Voting and Usability Project, which began after the 2000 presidential election. UPA members have expressed strong interest in ensuring that all citizens are not disenfranchised by unusable design or by barriers to access. Project leader and former elections official Josephine Scott said, “Usable voting systems will strengthen our democracy by inspiring trust and confidence in election results.”

For the last three years UPA’s Voting and Usability Project has provided information on how usability standards can be applied to voting systems, and followed election state and federal level election commissions and legislation. Quesenbery and Scott are also working on the proposed IEEE Voting System Standards section on usability and accessibility.

At the UPA2004 conference, held June 7-11 in Minneapolis, the Voting and Usability Project sponsored a multi-disciplinary workshop. Participants looked at social, civic and methodology issues in ensuring the usability of voting systems, from ballot design to the debate surrounding potential benefits and abuses of electronic voting. As a result of this workshop UPA has begun the work to create an international library of ballot and form designs.

UPA is also actively encouraging its members to volunteer as Election Day workers, as well as working with officials to make ballots easier to use.

The UPA Voting and Usability project works to create a better elections process by improving the usability of ballots and voting systems. Through education, advocacy, and participation in standards and design projects, we focus on people within the election process.

The Usability Professionals' Association is an international, non-profit, professional association with more than 1700 members in the US and 35 other countries. Members are specialists in evaluating and designing products that are easy to learn and use. The organization provides its members with a wide variety of professional services. Through outreach the UPA:

  • Shares information about the skills and approach of usability professionals in meeting needs for usable products.
  • Acts as an advocate for usability in consumer, corporate and governmental software, products and web sites.
  • Educates the general public about the usability.

For more information, contact:

The Usability Professionals' Association
140 N. Bloomingdale Rd.
Bloomingdale, IL 60108-1017
email: office@upassoc.org
web: http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org

Voting and Usability Project

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