Project description

Pakistan’s 2018 elections were hotly contested. For the first time in the country’s 71-year history, the youth vote – in particular, that of young women – played a key role in determining the outcome. Access to information through mobile phones allowed the otherwise disenfranchised members of Pakistani society to meaningfully contribute to the electoral debate and to cast their votes.

In order to serve the needs of this growing audience, AJLabs developed a dedicated mobile-first elections portal to provide the Pakistani voting public with an up-to-the-minute report of election results from across the country’s 272 constituencies.

This was a unique opportunity for Al Jazeera to step into the gap, using data visualisations to clarify an otherwise arcane electoral process. The data journalism also lent itself to a mobile-friendly interface which made it possible to get time-sensitive information to the large (and growing) sectors of the Pakistani population who get their information through smart phones.

The project was conceived, designed and headed by Al Jazeera Senior Producer Alia Chughtai with additional reporting by Pakistan-based Al Jazeera Online Correspondent Asad Hashim and development supervision by AJLabs unit lead, Mohammed El-Haddad. Accompanied by a small team of developers and junior designers, Alia took the concept from inception to execution. The team worked around the clock to produce visual snapshots during tight timeframes in the days, hours and minutes leading up to the constituency voting results and the final electoral result.

What makes this project innovative?

AJLabs developed a dedicated mobile-first elections portal to provide the Pakistani voting public with an up-to-the-minute report of election results from across the country’s 272 constituencies. To achieve this, we created carefully designed infographics and maps with an easy-to-understand dashboard that allowed readers to better understand who was representing which constituency. The elements worked in tandem with the live results so that readers could understand the elections and make informed decisions. In creating 'snapshots' of constituency electoral results, we aimed for a direct visual language that would be accessible to local and international audiences. We did this by focusing on numbers, thus greatly lowering the language barrier and making the information accessible to speakers of English, Urdu and other regional languages.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The impact of the election coverage was widespread. The dashboard, cartogram snapshots and related reportage worked to effect: during the hours when the constituency results were being announced straight through to final election results, site traffic for our live results page jumped tenfold as compared with the days leading up to the polling. The series had unique and recurring visits in Pakistan, India, the UK and other world geographies, including the United States. And the cartograms, related text and constituency snapshots were widely shared on websites across Pakistan and by local Pakistani publishing houses.

Source and methodology

The elements worked in tandem with the live results so that readers could understand the elections and make informed decisions. In creating the snapshots, we aimed for a direct visual language that would be accessible to local and international audiences. We did this by focusing on data we obtained, corroborated and cross-checked though our Pakistan based team, Alia Chughtai and Asad Hashim. Their local sources include regional and goverment figures across Pakistani constituencies, independent voting monitoring groups, local news groups and agencies. Their focus on numbers more than language was critical - and their local knowledge of Pakistan helped make them sensitive the urgency of accurate information. Their sources and methodologies made the information accessible to speakers of English, Urdu and other regional languages.

Technologies Used

To ensure we reached people with the lowest possible bandwidths, we created a mobile first portal with SVG, Bootstrap and Google Docs.

Project members

Alia Chughtai Mohammed Haddad Asad Hashim Sarmad Saleem Yeon Geong Hwang

Link

Additional links

Followers

Click Follow to keep up with the evolution of this project:
you will receive a notification anytime the project leader updates the project page.