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 responsibility of making all public information related to campaign and candidate financing, as well as information for candidates and potential candidates. So, to maintain its legitimacy as an agency, the number one priority was to make sure information was accessible and accurate. With a short timeline, we quickly conducted surveys and interviews to better understand the needs of real users and the agency. Combined with analysis of peer and related websites and an audit of the agency’s existing database and Drupal CMS, we then created a strategic brief to get everyone pulling in the same direction.
We're going to need a serious grid to structure all this information!
The NYCCFB’s website is the most comprehensive database of its kind in New York State, and possibly the nation. So, when it came to the user experience, our focus was squarely on making sure content was easy to find and to read. Making such a vast volume and variety of election information available both about and to every candidate and potential candidate for office called for a robust content taxonomy, sophisticated grid system, and library of modular page templates to handle different types of content. Following an Agile UX design process, we developed a blueprint for a structured, focused, intuitive site that provides faster points of entry to NYCCFB’s wealth of content.
How can visual design promote public engagement?
Visually, we wanted to design a website that would support NYCCFB’s internal team long after site launch. So, our design team worked off of the website’s taxonomy and information architecture to create a robust, flexible system that’s functional and meets the needs of a breadth and depth of content. And in keeping with the NYCCFB’s brand values of public access, openness, and transparency, color, type, we visually brightened up the experience to create an experience that feels optimistic and engaging. Updated throughout the design process, we then documented everything in a website style guide and pattern library that helpsNYCCFB’s internal team maintain consistency in the years ahead.
How can help design transform the agency?
NYCCFB’s existing website wasn’t much unlike many government agency sites. It had a lot of information people wanted access to, but the experience was dreary, visual cues were hard to come by, harming usability, and its legibility was suspect—especially on mobile. Working from our design system, we set a plan to reinvigorate the design of the NYCCFB so that it could 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 design files that were would be easy for their developers to work with and ensure that what was produced was faithfully translated design intent. Through an Agile design process, we collaborated with NYCCFB’s developers through weekly sprints, rolling-out design templates, providing annotated mockups, a detailed style guide, and ongoing design QA to expedite production. The result was a fast-paced process that kept everyone on track for a launch in advance of November’s local 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.”