Where the US election will be won and lost by ABC News Digital Storytelling team

Many Australians understood the significance of the 2020 US presidential election, but not many of those would understand the system at the heart of it: the electoral college.

To show our readers how the system worked, and how the election would unfold, we purposefully employed editorial, design and development devices that enabled our journalists to give an interactive treatment to a breaking news story.

As election day approached, we decided to use a hexmap of the United States to clearly demonstrate the weight of each state in relation to the electoral college.

Our design, development and editorial staff workshopped every possible scenario to ensure all the map states that we would need on election day were built in advance. We designed and built results panels that would pull in AP data and present it under the corresponding pars of copy.

On the day itself, we built a story page that provided a simple explanation of how the electoral college worked, told the story of the results that had already come in, and projected various scenarios as both Biden and Trump held hopes of winning.

This story page combined clear graphics, a conversational tone and quick-turnaround production innovation, which was appreciated by the audience:

"Thanks for this, really appreciate the work being done by ABC StoryLab. Some great focus on innovative UX going on there - seeing touches of Edward Tufte inspirations in there." — @laughingmind on Twitter

The initial story explained the electoral system, and helped people understand what to watch for as the election unfolded.

During the following days of uncertainty surrounding the results, we were able to use the same foundational design system to help our audience understand what we did and didn't know — right up to the point that Joe Biden was declared the winner.

The full series of stories were: