Where Our Tax Money Goes
April 10, 2011 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Where Our Tax Money Goes
I made a visualization of the US federal budget for the Data Viz Challenge.

It didn't make the cut for finalists, and it looks like there isn't going to be any feedback for non-finalists. I'm curious what MeFites think. I am completely open to negative, but well-intended, criticism.

Some criticisms I expect, and my responses (feel free to repeat them or elaborate on them, this is just here to show that I am aware of some drawbacks):
  • It isn't pretty. No, it's not. My first concern was to make it as useful as I could. I agree that it would be better if it were prettier.
  • It only displays the numbers, without telling me what I should be seeing. This is also true. I was thinking that it would be best to be as broadly useful as possible, and I imagined that the way to do this would be to try to make it easier to move through the budget numbers, and explain how it's organized. Would it be better to approach it differently?
  • There are clear rookie mistakes in the way it is made. Quite possible. I am fairly inexperienced with JavaScript, CSS, and making things for the web.
Role: programmer, designer, etc.
posted by -jf- (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Very cool. I think it would be nicer to navigate if the buttons were always on the same place on the page, rather than moving up and down based on how much text there is. I like the simple black and white scheme. I'm now thinking of using this in my intro to Graph Theory course this Fall.
posted by monkeymadness at 4:48 AM on April 11, 2011


I don't have much to contribute here other than this is extremely awesome. Thanks for this!
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 10:22 AM on April 11, 2011

You're welcome! I'm glad you like it. I have a feeling there's going to be a gallery of finalists at the Data Viz Challenge website within a few days, so you might want to watch for that.

monkeymadness, you mean the "next" and "back" buttons during the guided tour? That is annoying, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I guess I'll try putting them above the text.
posted by -jf- at 4:13 PM on April 11, 2011

Yeah, those. It's not a big deal, but I know I always like to keep the pointer over one spot while flipping through. Great work!
posted by monkeymadness at 5:15 PM on April 11, 2011

Thanks. I changed it, and I think it is better with the buttons above the text.
posted by -jf- at 7:05 PM on April 11, 2011

This is really awesome.

Are you looking to continue development on this? If you can put in a way to compare a department over years, for example, that would also be one great feature...There could be many such ideas.

Completely OT, but Defense is less than 1 billion in 2010? That looks suspicious :)
posted by theobserver at 8:17 PM on April 18, 2011

My suggestions:

- remove "start the tour" button, it should just start on the first graph page

- separate "next text blurb" and "next graph" into separate buttons; I can't tell from the nav as-is that there's a 2nd graph coming up at some point, it just looks like more and more text

- the 2nd graph (bar graph) is more impressive and interesting than the 1st - make it the 1st graph
posted by Terheyden at 11:14 AM on May 6, 2011

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