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Read the F*ing Directions

Making sense of state absentee ballot instructions


Ahead of the 2020 Presidential election, our client, Spread the Vote, prioritized making sure that ballots didn’t get thrown out due to an error in following ballot instructions. We partnered with them to build Read the F*ing Directions, targeted at young voters whose ballots are 5x more likely to be thrown out due to not following directions.

The Product

For this product, we had a lot of data that needed to be distilled into a mobile-first web application.  The design needed to accommodate states with a lot of information and requirements and those with very few requirements. We also wanted to heavily prioritize social sharing of the information, and be engaging enough for young voters.

Working with the content, we created a single page experience that allows a user to select their state, and have the site populate the state’s information below appear.  Each state has its own social share option, but the user can also opt to share the entire application. We also made space for some amazing videos, one animated video by a group of volunteer animators (with music created and donated by Bela Fleck), as well as a video by a number of comedians, including Roy Moore Jr.

“When we were building the RTFD campaign it was important to me that I hire a firm that could take a lot of complicated information and build a clean, simple, easy to understand website. Theory and Principle did exactly that, working quickly, efficiently, and at a reasonable price. Highly recommend.”
–Kat Calvin, Executive Director
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How did we get there?

We had to move fast to build this product.  We met the client, Spread the Vote, at the end of August 2020, with mail-in ballots going out only four weeks later. We spent one week on design, two on development and one on quality assurance to get to the rapid deployment of this product.  The client handled all of the content needs, which continued to be updated post-launch as election details changed regularly.