We created changingstates.org to publicize the report Changing States: A Framework for Progressive Governance which was created by the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at USC. In order to accomplish everything we wanted to in the timeframe we had, I was forced far out of my comfort zone and learned a lot of brand new stuff on the fly including PHP, ArcGIS, and Bootstrap. The result is a site that I’m probably the most proud of.
- Coded from scratch. No CMS!
- Dynamicly produced data pages with human readable descriptions
- Interactive maps with ArcGIS and ESRI Story Maps
- Academic friendly credits and data sources
- Needless CSS flourishes
I didn’t have the time I wanted to create the exact site we disccused using a traditional CMS, so I opted to code the whole thing myself. This required me to learn new frameworks and langages to the point that I could create what we wanted. By the end, I had to learn from scratch or upgrade my skills in:
BootStrapfor a clean, mobile-responsive structure
PHPfor dynamic data displays
SASSBecuause it’s makes working with CSS less horrendous
The Data Shines
I was asked to create a page for each US state to show case a particular framework, the “Arenas of Change” which comprised 37 individual indicators. This site was supposed to be accessible to activists and non-academics, so instead of series of sterile tables, I crafted a page template that displays and contextualizes each indicators.
Plain English Descriptions
Descriptions of indicators change depending on their values. Quantatative data is ranked, and qualatative data is contextualized. Very useful for sharing.
Another framework, “Conditions of Change” lent itself to looking at the national picture so I learned a bit about using ArcMap and created custom layers for the data I was given. From these I created a series of individual maps, Swipe Map Apps, and Story Journal Maps.