Moving the lines by Voilà:
This project brings to life the unique research of the Economic Innovation Group on the fall of economic dynamism in the United States and how most states have been struggling since 2008. It puts data on the lived experience of the population and helps make a case for policymakers to quickly implement measures that will improve dynamism and strengthen the economy.
This project has multiple star features.
First, its structure. Is it a scrollytelling? Is it a dashboard? It is both. The narrative section on top presents the concept of economic dynamism and the analysis of the client. Voilà: worked in-depth with the client to develop a well-paced story. At the bottom, once the audience is comfortable with the topic and curious, they are given control to choose a US state to study in detail in a dashboard. They can find themselves, as the ultimate way to engage with data.
Second, the hex map packs a ton of information in a familiar yet unique, dense yet pleasing visual. It is evocative of the famous warming stripes about climate change. One look and we can see the overall status of the country. Our eyes are drawn to the outliers. A closer look and we can see the story of each state across nearly 30 years. This is 1,400 data points shown seamlessly. It is then enriched by animations that draw the attention to special regions with common stories.
Finally, the smooth transitions are what makes the whole thing click and what most people are noticing. Much like transitions work in text, here they convey the continuity of the topic through the different messages. An average line is divided into its eight components. Special regions of the map are highlighted one after the other. A line chart is transformed into a heat map before our eyes. This seamless flow from chart to chart, from idea to idea, helps to simplify and make complex ideas more understandable.
The aesthetics are based on a prior project on country-level dynamism also developed by Voilà:. The red and blue chosen then to evoke the United States flag were a perfect match for the warming stripes approach, going from high (blue) to low (red) dynamism. The font for titles, Refrigerator Deluxe, is retro futuristic, both about a better past and a better future. The chic light grey background came in handy to separate sections with elegance.
During the development of the project, we were aware of the accessibility challenges that scrollytelling usually generates. To make sure the project is readable and accessible to everyone we also deployed a version on our website that allows users to activate or deactivate the scrolling features at will so that they can experience the project as they see fit.
This is a project that brings together skills found across Voilà: to explain a topic that could change the life of hundreds of millions people, in a clear and beautiful way.
CreditsPatricia Angkiriwang, Information Designer, Programmer Julian Hernandez, Information Designer Celia Albano, Graphic Designer Estelle Villemin, Graphic Designer Francis Gagnon, Supervising Information Designer