Chicago’s 2019 Mayoral Election

With 14 candidates, Chicago’s 2019 mayoral election hasn’t been the most user friendly election. I worked with WBEZ’s government and politics team to approach this unique situation with an audience-first mindset. Our goal: offer a way to make the getting ready to vote process feel a little less daunting. The final product came in two parts: an elegant way to navigate our candidate questionnaire and a quiz that allowed our audience to answer the questionnaire themselves to see how their answers aligned with those of the candidates. See the full project here.

We asked candidates to fill out a questionnaire that included both yes or no answers as well as short explanations for those answers. Over a series of iterations and few user tests, I designed a tool that gave our audience a quick way to compare candidates’ positions and a way to dive deeper into those longer responses. I focused heavily on the utilitarian aspect of the project but also aimed to create an experience that felt manageable, welcoming, and (at least a little) delightful.

Screenshot of questionnaire website
The initial view gave an overview of all candidate’s responses, allowing for a quick comparison.
Screenshot of extended view
Upon clicking on a candidate’s answers, users were able to see their longer response.

Positive audience response led us to create a quiz

Our audience’s response to this project was overwhelmingly positive and thankful, but one suggestions came up over and over again:

In response to these requests, I built a quiz that allowed our audience to take the questionnaire themselves. I ran a few iterations by two readers who had already taken the time to plug the answers into a spreadsheet themselves to see how their own answers stacked up, which proved to be helpful. Based on their feedback and that of others in the newsroom, I added the option to not answer the question and simplified the results view.

Screenshot of initial quiz view
Users began by answering the same questions as the candidates.
Screenshot of results view
Upon finishing they were presented with a ranked list of the candidates whose answers most matched up with their own.
Screenshot of comparative view
Users also had the option of diving into a more detailed view which showed exactly how their answers compared to those of a single candidate.

This has been one of my favorite projects to work on. It was incredibly rewarding to work directly with our audience to build a tool that was useful and truly resonated with those using it.