The New York Times has published an interactive graphic entitled: How Different Groups Voted in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries.
Before i get to the graphic, it is interesting to notice how distracting the NYT’s web site is; if you glance quickly over the entire page you’ll notice that the content does not stand out clearly from the ads, site navigation, and other website administrative debris. The user interface (UI), and thus the user experience (UX), are both quite cluttered and noisy.
Now focus on the graphic itself and you’ll see several examples of how design can impact the user experience:
- use of images to present statistical information gives us a break from reading text and numbers and lets us use a different learning channel to process the information; less mathematical/conceptual and more visual/spatial
- the graph itself serves up a nice balance between Information in Parallel and Information in Serial, allowing the reader to take in the big picture all at once while also providing the ability to drill into specific figures by pointing the mouse at an individual state block
- the option to click through the different pages of data in a next/previous fasion provides an easy way to flip through the entire data set without getting overwhelmed with statistical language and figures
Clearly a lot of thought went into this design; the various tabs and categories at the bottom are stacked in logical groupings and ordering. The way that clicking next will cycle in order through increasing age, income, and education brackets paints a clear picture of a polarized democratic party as you can watch Clinton’s and Obama’s support wax and wane in near direct relationship to opposite ends of those spectrum.
Overall this experience is a lot more satisfying on a Friday afternoon than pouring over tables of statistical percentages.