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June 2008 Contents

UPA Job Bank

UPA 2008


Working to Improve the Civic Experience

Josephine Scott

One of the founding members of the Voting and Usability Project, Josephine Scott is not only a usability professional, but also a former election official. She currently works for TechSmith Corporation conducting user research.

What has UPA done to encourage more useable and accessible government? Quite a lot, it turns out. UPA supports efforts to improve the usability of elections, support plain language, and remove barriers to civic access for people with disabilities through an alphabet soup of projects and events.

This year's UPA 2008 conference features an event open for all members to meet with advocates for accessibility and with project members for posters, networking and a bit of inspiration. Plain language pioneer Dr. Annetta Cheek, director of the Center for Plain Language, and Karen Peltz Strauss, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunications Access will join Usability in Civic Life Project directors and members for the celebration.

A Celebration of Usability in Civic Life: Access + Usability
At the UPA 2008 conference
Tuesday, June 17 at 5 pm
Open to all

Dr. Cheek was one of the first federal employees involved in the plain language movement. She served on Vice President Gore's National Performance Review, where she was charged with spreading the plain language initiative across the federal government. She currently serves as the Chair of the Center's board. In 2005 she received the Center's first award as an "Outstanding Plain-Language Leader in Government."

Ms. Strauss is currently Deputy Chief of the Consumer Information Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission where she oversees the Commission's disability and consumer access programs and policies.

UPA members have made their mark as well. View the posters and information about the many efforts of members on international projects.

This year has been especially busy. Members have:

  • Developed a Usability Testing Kit for Local Election Officials to encourage officials to usability test every election.
  • Chaired a panel on human interfaces at a forum on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Challenges and Opportunities for ICT Standards. (April 21)
  • Presented testimony at the federal government's Election Assistance Commission meetings on Ballot Design, Accessibility, and Usability (April 16)
  • Advocated support for the Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2008 (HR 3548). It passed the House on April 14.
  • Participated in an advisory committee (TEITAC) for the US Access Board, recommending updates to accessibility regulations, Section 508 and Section 255. (The committee presented its report on April 3.)
  • Presented testimony at the EAC roundtable on Usability and Accessibility. Members spoke about Connecting Usability and Accessibility in Elections and on Plain Language: Adding Simplicity to Voting, (March 27)

UPANZ (UPA in New Zealand) participated in the Working Group to create New Zealand's Version 1.0 of the New Zealand Web Standards and Recommendations. (They went into effect January 2008.)

You can read more about all of these projects at the Usability in Civic Life web pages.

Join us at the conference. Bring ideas of your own. Participate.


Usability Professionals' Association
promoting usability concepts and techniques worldwide
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