One thing that has always bothered me about news companies is that the majority of stories reported are based on little to no data. In our crowded world of growing information, I found it difficult to consistently depend on a website that eliminated this issue while also reporting on news that’s current and matters. Introducing FiveThirtyEight, one of the only blogs I know that integrates sports, politics, culture and more under a simple, data-driven framework.
Data is facts. There’s no argument of fake news or bias when the numbers are presented to the user in a seamlessly integrated fashion. FiveThirtyEight uses this fact based approach to persuade or rather inform its readers based on careful analysis and simulation. Overall, the purpose of this approach is for the readers to have a better understanding of the background of why articles are being reported in the first place.
FiveThirtyEight’s audience is likely to appeal to young, tech-savvy adults. My reasoning behind this is that since this isn’t a typical news source, it may seem overwhelming to a person who’s used to getting their news on the old-fashioned black and white paper. It appeals to these young adults through easy headlines and powerful colors throughout their website.
Although it may largely appeal to these young individuals, the stakeholders it impacts can’t be forgotten. FiveThirtyEight is just like any company and its stakeholders matter. When conducting their everyday analysis’, one can’t forget that errors in polling and execution occur. After wrongly predicting the most recent presidential election (after getting the past two correct), FiveThirtyEight was caught in the crossfire of many news outlets arguing their methodology. The majority stakeholders such as ESPN (their owner) and the readers became frustrated and confused since they put so much trust into this blog.
Where Data Meets Design
One area that FiveThirtyEight goes above and beyond is their user centered design. The website’s functionality has me clicking through categories and articles absorbing up information with ease. The titles to the articles have me intrigued and prepared to find more information about a topic while once within them; graphs, pictures, and more data are used to fully capture a scene for the readers. Even the articles themselves don’t use vocabulary and diction that would be difficult for the youngest of readers to understand.
Furthermore, the layout is also pristine. From top to bottom the website fully utilizes the space while preventing it from feeling too jumbled or over cluttered. Additionally, within each article are numerous links to support ideas or identify where they originate. Overall, FiveThirtyEight’s design is easy, appealing, and functional further supporting their user-centered design.
Visuals & Why They’re Great
Data might be awesome, but if no one can understand what the data means it becomes useless. Luckily, FiveThirtyEight has mastered visual rhetoric and only includes the most important visuals to support their point. FiveThirtyEight’s visuals are used to set a scene of an article through pictures of people involved within a story, graphs about the story, and other media to fully embrace the point they’re attempting to make. These are the elements that FiveThirtyEight believes “must be seen” for the message to be clear, as the Daniel Richards article states.
From a graphic design standpoint, once again FiveThirtyEight hits this aspect right on the head. Their ability to use the contrast of the white background with a pallette of various colors makes the website appealing, yet simple. FiveThirtyEight stays true to its roots and has visually appealing fox with a tri-color design. One of my favorite graphic design features is the use of beautiful colors in the interactive graphs that make messing around with them even better.
Based on the information, FiveThirtyEight is the perfect blend of rhetorical awareness, user-centered design, visual rhetoric & graphic design to appeal to a quickly growing user base.