Get to Know the Houston Budget by Connor Rothschild

This microsite is an accessible introduction to a historically inaccessible topic: city budgets. The tool allows visitors to learn about the Houston budget, build their own, and then share their budget preferences with their City Council member (or the public).

At the forefront of our mind was developing a tool that was comprehensive but still inviting. We had to consider at what level of depth we wanted to explain important budgetary terms and processes, while ensuring that users were not overwhelmed.

Toward that end, we sought to “funnel engagement” with sections that required progressively more user input. For instance, the user is greeted by the broad question, “what do you think the size of the Houston budget is?” and the final section asks them to select specific policy outcomes they care most about.

Visually, the piece intentionally uses sans-serif fonts, light colors, and emojis throughout to invite the user to engage with a complex topic that historically is presented in arcane, boring, and obtuse ways.