By Kierah Forsyth
In the brief I wrote for myself, I outlined my desire to develop a concept for a data visualisation that would be an easy to understand and a useful tool for everyday life. With the local election being a current concern for people of the Canberra region, I decided to analyse the wealth on information that was available for it, and find a way to represent this data in a way that would help voters to understand what each party would do for them on election. After wide research and analysis of the data, this “How Many Jelly Beans in the Jar?” concept is my answer to the design problem I set forward for myself.
The concept was developed from a need to be very carefully selective about the amount and type of data that I included in the concept. Too much information and it would overwhelm the viewer, to little and it would confuse them. I to approach from and angle that communicated the most essential information clearly and quickly.
What I decided upon was to show, side by side, how much money each of the three major parties had promised to spend if they were elected, and in which areas they would spend it. This not only collates a large amount of data that is often siphoned out over several months of marketing, but most importantly, gives voters an easy way to see where their tax dollars will be going, which is arguably the paramount concern for any voter. I opted out of including independent candidates in this analysis, as their individual views were too disparate to quantify, and as such the same data was not available – the major parties, those with the pulling power to be elected into government, took precedence in this case.
To show this visually, I wanted to take a simple idea that anyone could relate to – a seemingly simple child’s guessing game – and apply it this seemingly complex data – budget spend, to show that both are much easier to understand with some careful organisation.
In my analysis of the data, I utilised an article from the Canberra Times which broke down each party’s spending promises from the previous three months of campaigning (which I cross-checked with other sources), totalled each area, then divided into a percentage. I then applied this to the visual, colour-coding each jelly-bean shape to represent an area – Health is red, Roads and Transport is green, etc. - and appropriately coloured each bean accordingly, with one jelly bean representing one million dollars.
I added tags to identify each party, with a breakdown of the specific amounts in the side bar for reference, and a legend running along the bottom of the composition to show each colour. As I coloured the area’s in a rainbow progression, I opted to keep the rest of the composition relatively muted, an not to overwhelm the eye. I used tones of grey, and white throughout, and chose Helvetica Neue in various weights for it’s clean, modern look. I used various weight’s to establish the hierarchy of information, from bold to light.
Overall, I am happy with my concept. I chose data that was relevant to the target audience, and visually represented it in a way that they could easily relate to. I balanced the use of colour and tone to guide the viewer’s eye through the piece, and chose a style of type and line that kept the concept clean and modern. By viewing this data visualisation, ACT voters should quickly and easily be able to see and understand where there tax dollars would be heading as determined by each of the major political parties.