Campaign Contributions

On 21 May, Angelenos went to the polls to elect the next mayor of Los Angeles. The contest followed an earlier vote that prompted the day’s run-off election. This graphic from the Los Angeles Times examined the contributions to the campaigns of the two finalists, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel.

The overall piece features an interesting interactive component that allowed the user to switch from a scatter plot view to a stacked bar chart view and then filter those results based on whether they were direct or indirect contributions. Generally speaking, that element worked. However, I want to focus on the second big component: an interactive tree map.

Tree map with rollover
Tree map with rollover

While not all tree maps have to be squarified, by converting datapoints to (roughly) similar shapes the user should have an easier time comparing the area of the objects. This tree map is not squarified and so the user must strain to convert all the different shapes into roughly equal shapes for a visual comparison. Nor is there an inherent ranking within the map—at least not that I can find. That would also help.

So while the tree map is not a success in and of itself, the rollover condition makes for a more interesting overview of the different sectors of contributions. But despite this added value in the rollover,  the data powering the tree map would still be better presented in a different format.

Credit for the piece goes to Maloy Moore and Anthony Pesce.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

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