2020 US Presidential Election Visual Critique

by Corey Scamman for Human Computer Interaction. 10/28/2020

Design Critique and Redesign

For my Design Critique and Redesign, I will be working with a 2020 Election visual that illustrates predictions and current sentiments for what sides each state will lean in the election. The link is

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/26/trumps-path-to-an-electoral-college-victory-narrows

I am not critiquing the map as it is simply just the continental US, but more so the legend and choices of color and what they represent. The current legend has 7 colors: blue, light blue, lighter blue, purple, red, light red, and lighter red. The legend gives a general understanding of what states are likely to lean which way and by some metric, but it is ambiguous. I am unsure of the differences between dark blue and mid blue and so clarification for the shades would help improve this visual.

Data

The data is US 2020 presidential election state polling numbers. The source is Aljazeera News and however they obtain their polling info. It tells the complete story as it incorporates all 50 states. You could argue that it doesn’t as it excludes third party candidates but don’t blame Aljazeera blame the US two party system. The visual is representative of anticipated state voting outcomes based on polling.

Motivation

The intention of the visual is to convey current polling numbers by state for the US 2020 presidential election in a simple to understand format by using the USA map. I do not believe the visual is biased. The only arguments that can be made are that the polling data itself can be biased or inaccurate and that the legend is ambiguous.

Audience

The intended audience is the American people or realistically anyone who consumes Aljazeera news or anyone who wants a simple polling visual to update them on the current situation regarding the 2020 US presidential election.

Visual Representation

The data is mapped pretty simply and easy to understand. The polling numbers for, as an example Texas, are indicative in the color and shading for the state of Texas. There isn’t much spacing, but considering it is a map of the US this makes sense. The choices of colors are logical and easy to distinguish.

Other Design Decisions

If you are xenophobic and the sound of Aljazeera sounds scary to you, you likely won’t see this information visual. If you are blind or color blind in any manner, this visual is likely either impossible or very difficult to see and understand. The visual is fine on mobile.

For my redesign, I would use 4 shades of blue and red and specify as to what each shade means numerically.

Implementing this legend and color scheme would improve the clarity and simplicity of the information being conveyed. This would also eliminate any ambiguity in the visual.