Kate Farrar

Case Study: Balancing Act


Overview: An interactive simulation for citizens to engage in public budgeting.

My Role: Product Design, Front End Development, Branding

Balancing Act is an online experience to engage citizens in public budgeting. For two years, I lead a team of one project manager, two developers, and one strategist and was the Lead Designer and Strategist. I lead the product design, front end development, rebranding, and creation of a supplemental product called Taxpayer Receipt.

"Kate was the lead UX designer on a new, public-facing simulation we were creating. What she developed has stood the test of time for four years and there has been no serious consideration given to replacing it. It was just plain, good design. She is a delight to work with."- Chris Adams, President of Balancing Act

lego prototype
Paper & LEGO prototype
Alpha prototype
user flows
User flow diagram
Wireframes and lo-fi mockups

We conducted extensive user testing during the entire development of the product. Starting with paper prototypes during the workshop phase to alpha testing with lo-fidelity prototypes and finally beta testing with the same group of users. This was able to help us iterate quickly and identify problem areas for users. Both the Balancing Act Budget Simulation and the Taxpayer Receipt were built to be fully responsive and accessible on all devices, from desktop to tablet to mobile.

fort collins budget
Fort Collins, CO budget simulation
tax receipt
Taxpayer receipt for the City of Denver

Balancing Act has been used by over 50 cities including Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, Nashville, and San Antonio. It has been featured on sites like Fast Company, HuffPost, and Colorado Public Radio. A federal budget version, co-sponsored with the Bipartisan Policy Center, has been used by over 100,000 students and was featured in a PBS NewsHour Lesson Plan.

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