Carolyn Dew Carolyn Dew

UX design and research in the civic space redesign


USAGov maintains (also known as, a small website that played a big role in voter registration drives in 2016. A White House priority at the time, this site allowed social media companies to send users to an official government source for voter registration information for their state or territory.

USAGov approached us to help them make various improvements to the site within a tight time line, which included tightening up the visual design, code, and content. They also wanted a Spanish language version of the site. In addition to their requests, we identified and fixed multiple accessibility problems and designed a better mobile experience.

Task flow analysis
See larger diagram (PDF)
Annotated mock-ups of state picker
Annotated mock up

What I did

  • Ran an accessibility audit and helped the team triage and address any problems found to comply with WCAG 2.0 AA standards and Section 508.
  • Our accessibility fixes also allowed developers to remove all JavaScript from the site, and created individual state-specific pages for direct linking.
  • Collaborated with various subject matter experts, stakeholders, and a cross-functional team to iterate quickly on interaction and visual design.
  • Co-created voter archetypes with an academic expert on voter behavior and identity, pulling from his expertise and guiding him through the design process.
  • Used a wide variety of techniques – including analytics, existing academic research, and task analysis.
  • Successfully advocated for a mobile-first approach after discovering that 70 percent of site visits happened on mobile.
  • Identified a major pain point for mobile users where some states only offered PDF forms, and proposed a range of possible solutions (with varying degrees of complexity) to the team.
  • Adapted the visual design created for the Federal Front Door to the site design.

Key Techniques and deliverables

  • interaction design
  • responsive design
  • task analysis
  • visual design
  • user archetypes


We successfully launched the redesigned site in time for Voter Registration Day and became a primary destination for voter registration campaigns run by Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and other prominent sites. Over the course of a few days, over nine million people visited, and registrations soared in many states.

Instagram voter registration ad Instagram voter registration ad
Instagram voter registration messages
Screenshot of Reddit voter registration modal
Reddit voter registration message showing as top page showing as most trafficked site