Haotian Mai - Extra credit assignment No.2


For this assignment, I chose New York Times to discuss the presidential race results and the Missourian for the Missouri race results.


1. Presidential race

New York Times presidential election results were made up of four typical blue/red national maps, 50-states tendency chart, a curve diagram of chance of winning presidency and three live results forecast dashboards. The four big maps are states, counties, size of lead, and change of 2012.

· What works and what doesn’t?

Apparently, the graphics works, but the prediction data all sucks. (joking…)

Works: For live results counting, the big maps are clear presentation of results by states, and each state is clickable too. And there are different colors(light/dark) and patterns (stipes/no stripes) for Lead, Win, Flip, which I think are very straight forward to show the battles of the election as a whole. We can see which states are solid Dem/Rep, which states are a close fight and how Trump flipped all the predicted Clinton’s states. I would also like to point out the live dashboards. I really like the idea of a moving indicators that show the on-going counting process, and I think it is really an interactive way to link boring numbers to visual representation.

Doesn’t work: One of the four national maps, I think the “Change from 2012”is the weakest one. Aesthetically, it really hurts my eyes. All the little arrows remind me of trypophobie. It is just too overwhelming and too busy. And I can’t really click on specific county in highly populated areas without enlarging the map. https://postimg.org/image/baahqg1rn/

· Better on desktop and mobile?

I think both the desktop and mobile are ok in displaying results. However, the mobile version does better in displaying the states chart. The first list of charts is all the “Key-states” then follows all 50 states. The desktop version have five separate columns, although more columns can show the leaning of states clearly, I do prefer the mobile way better for putting the most concerned information (key states races) on top.

· Takeaway

From the New York Times result, I learned that it’s the combination of color, patterns and formats of different infographics that really makes a comprehensive result story. And it is very important to make a careful decision on prioritizing contents. Placing the most important ones on top and the less important ones down to less prominent positions.

· What could have been done better?

For possible improvements, I would suggest the emphasis on the refreshed time. Right now it is placed on the top right corner, which is not very noticeable. Although NYT is not like CNN in terms of live instant updating, but I do feel like there should be some indicators or reminder for readers to know “it’s time to refresh now.” I remember when I was watching the results that night, I kept refreshing and I thought it would be really helpful if new results reminder can pop out somewhere or the last time refreshed can be more prominent.

* How Trump Reshaped the Election Map interactive story

After the election night, New York Times did an interactive graphic stories on how Trump reshaped the election map. Basically, it took the busy counties flipped map and make a slideshow story on it. I really love the story especially because it dissected all the busy arrows and showed parts of them for certain part of the stories in steps.

Moreover, the mobile version of the story worked incredibly better, because it is easier to slide on a smartphone and the text contents would be automatically placed above or down the map without hovering on part of the map, compare to the desktop.

I truly think it is an excellent example of interactive stories on election results, because it is more contents-oriented with the help of the graphic results, it successfully combines graphics and text while making people more willingly to read through, step by step.


2. Missouri race

Our graphics people really did a great job in showing the results. I really like ours better compare to Tribune’s and the Dispatch

· What works and what doesn’t?

Works: With the vertical columns chart and the contrast of color, the winner and loser are very clear. And with the help of the title and percentage of precincts reported, I found it very straight forward to look for the results of all the local races.

Doesn’t work: I am personally not a huge fan of the choice of color in the amendments and proposition part. I think we can choose a brighter color instead of black and grey to show the “Yay” and “Nay” for this part. Also, when I hover over, each column has the percentage. I feel like it is kind of unnecessary because they are already shown without hovering on it. If possible, I would rather see the number of votes when hovering over (the number also is available on Secretary of State website, along with the percentage. )

· Better on desktop and mobile?

I think both the desktop and mobile are pretty straightforward in listing different races. But for the mobile version, the counties result maps is a bit too small to click with the finger. Also, maybe it is because of my phone, but I couldn’t enlarge the map, so it is hard for me to correctly click on the county I want.

· Takeaway

Choosing the suitable formats for displaying really matters. I really like our choice of choosing vertical columns, because they are simple and straightforward. When I saw Tribune slideshow of results with only number and names, I really feel like we did a better job in showing the results in showcasing the win/lose in a more explicit and interactive way. Moreover, for so many results and so similar format of display, I like how we differentiate the information with bigger titles and different color, they made it more easier for readers to navigate.

· What could have been done better?

As illustrated earlier, I think we can make the mobile county map bigger and easier to click. And also we can include the detail count of votes when hovering over the columns to show more context. Also, because we want to tell stories about the results, we should link the stories we did on different level races to this result post. I know this was unnecessary for the election night because both the result and the stories are all stacking on our homepage. But since they are no longer stacking together, I feel like maybe we could create the sidebars and jam these contents altogether for the story. Because even if the election is over, there are still needs for future references and some readers might be still looking to find the detail results, we can make it easier for them. All in all, I think with the straightforward graphics and prominent titles, we really did successfully showcase the results in a timely and compelling way.

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