Increasing Campaign Finance Transparency in New York's Elections
The New York City Campaign Finance Board is one of the strongest, most effective government campaign finance agencies in the country. Faced with an aggressive timeline ahead of upcoming November elections, they turned to Constructive to help them rethink how the agency’s website could connect the public with vital campaign finance information needed to make informed decisions and more meaningfully participate in the democratic process.
What information do voters & candidates need to know?
The NYCCFB’s website has the awesome responsibility of ensuring the integrity in New York City’s elections by making available all public information available to the public, candidates, and public candidates related to campaign and candidate financing. With no time to spare until the mid-terms, we quickly conducted surveys and interviews to understand the needs of real users and the agency, performed market research, audited NYCCFB’s website and technical infrastructure, and created a strategic brief to get everyone pulling in the same direction.
We're going to need a grid worthy of NYC to structure all this information!
The NYCCFB’s website is the most comprehensive database of its kind in New York, and possibly the nation. So, when it came to the user experience, our focus was squarely on ensuring that content was easy to find and to read. Supporting such a vast volume and variety of information available practically demanded a robust content taxonomy, sophisticated grid system, and library of modular page templates. Through an Agile UX design process, we developed a blueprint for a structured, focused, intuitive site that makes information more accessible by providing faster points of entry to NYCCFB’s wealth of content.
How can visual design help promote civic engagement?
Visually, NYCCFB’s digital design system would need to support the agency’s internal team long after launch. We created one that’s both highly functional and emotional to meets the needs of NYCCFB’s brand and their breadth and depth of content. Color and type work together to provide structure and hierarchy while creating an experience that’s engaging, optimistic, and credible. Throughout the design process, we documented the system in a style guide and pattern library that continues to help NYCCFB maintain consistency in the years since launch.
How can design transform the agency?
NYCCFB’s existing website wasn’t much unlike many government agency sites—it had a lot of valuable information that people wanted access to, but the experience it created for them was dreary, legibility was poor, and usability was suspect—especially on mobile. With a design system in place, we got to work on designing a new NYCCFB experience that would invigorate New York City’s elections.
Time for everyone to work together quickly in parallel path.
NYCCFB’s website is managed internally by their IT team, meaning that on a rapid timeline, we needed to deliver assets that were easy for their developers to work with and ensure that what was produced matched the vision established in static design comps. Through an Agile design process, we collaborated through weekly production sprints—rolling-out design templates, providing annotated mockups, and performing ongoing design QA testing. The result was a fast-paced process that kept everyone on track for the upcoming November elections.
NYCCFB’s website changes what people expect from a government agency and promotes civic engagement by making it easy and enjoyable to shed light on campaign financing.
Our Client's Experience
“Providing information about voting and money in politics is central to our mission. Over years of growth, as our website’s content expanded, it became increasingly difficult for our audience to find what they needed. Constructive helped us create a new website and user experience that helps us better serve New Yorkers. Their team listened closely and engaged us in a truly collaborative process, helping us refine our needs and think through challenges. The result is a first-rate site that puts a premium on helping voters meaningfully engage in the democratic process.”