It's been a big week for CQ's vote studies, which measure the
presidential support and party unity of each senator and representative
on a series of key votes. Our editorial and research team finished up
the results for President Obama's first year in office, leading to a
pair of NPR stories based on that data, in addition to our own
coverage, of course.
To accompany our stories, I built a
new version of our vote study visualization, leveraging what I've
learned since creating the original almost two years ago. It is, as
you'd expect, faster and better-looking. But there are subtle
improvements included as well, ones I hope will make this a solid base
for our vote study multimedia during the Obama administration.
- It's auto-bounded, with no hard-coded graph boundaries. If
Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, or Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, decide to
diverge from their party even more than they already do, I won't have to
go in and mess with the graphing algorithms to keep them inside the
- The math is more precise, and now adapts to any viewport
dimensions. If we want a version of this that fits in a smaller or
larger space, it will handle that without distortion.
- It's more informative. The tooltips and display mechanism have been
beefed up so that more information is available at a glance, including
the ability to see the name of individual members on mouseover if
there's only one for that specific datapoint, and the option to see all
members in a column for the distribution views.
- The "Find Member" function has been beefed up and made considerably
easier to use.
- It combines my lovingly-crafted graphics and the data table view
into one movie, instead of splitting them into two individually-loaded
Flash objects. This, as much as anything else, has probably lowered the
initialization time substantially, but it also puts all the information
right at your fingertips with no need to scroll the page.
As I've said before, I'm extraordinarily proud of the work our vote
study team does, and thrilled to be able to contribute to their online
presence in this way. Check
it out, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.