Irish Coalition Government

As I alluded to yesterday, in addition to visualising Irish election results the Irish Times built a coalition builder.

The current coalition is far from a majority in the new Dáil
The current coalition is far from a majority in the new Dáil

The principle behind the visualisation is sound: how could a government be created? And so the user goes away and creates his or her fantasy government. From a design perspective, the piece is nice with bold, party-related colours and clear controls. The Irish Times also included a nice subtlety with independent TDs (members of the Dáil) as clicking the plus button does not add all ten, but one person at a time. That reflects the fact the independents are not a whole party but ten individuals.

But I personally keep returning to a single question: how realistic are these fantasies? I think an addition that would benefit the story-telling element of the piece would be a guided narrative. Start with the screenshot above, which presents the coalition from the previous Dáil. Clearly they are far from a majority. A guided narrative could explain the likelihood and possible priorities of a various number of plausible coalitions. It would also be able to exclude the more ridiculous pairings.

Credit for the piece goes to the Irish Times’ graphics department.

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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