Interaction design, Data visualisation
For the 2010 Australian Federal Election news.com.au wanted to do something new and different to distinguish itself from the rest of the online news network. Apart from doing a suite of interactives we decided to do a data visualisation for the election night.
During a brainstorm session with designers, multimedia producers, developers and editors I sketched a concept for a system that counted votes as they came in from an official feed and then moved elements towards their respective camps.
After this brainstorm I produced a basic wireframe to highlight functionality and confirm by in from the editors. This helped everyone involved in the project understand what we were trying to achieve with the visualisation and provide sign off on the idea.
From this wireframe a basic design mock was done to continue the idea and help highlight any potential problems. This was also used to establish the direction the look and feel of the data visualisation would go. It was decided to produce the data visualisation in the same style of the news.com.au election coverage to provide a total package on the night.
After this point in the process there were a few changes and challenges. Data from the electoral commission was not in the format we expected, there were hold ups with technical restraints and the expected story the data would tell was slightly different. Though after close collaboration with the flash developer and the editor we made modifications and improved on the visualisation system.
This data visualisation had two parts to it, one was the live data flowing through to the front end flash and displaying the primary vote. The other was using the data to make predictions and 'call' winning seats on the two party preferred system. This was done by displaying the raw data on a backend dashboard which was used to make an educated guess on the party that won their seat. By calling a seat, the front end flash then made that ball to jump into their respective party camps.
The visualisation produced many good comments, traffic and hype from twitter, which helps to cement news.com.au as a made for the medium news site that finds interesting and different ways of telling stories compared to our competitors. Through the hype we even managed to get a small post on Flowing Data.