Project description

A searchable, chronological page of all the graphics we publish on FT.com, complete with links to articles that contain them.

Since its launch in November 2018, it has been listed in the main navigation bar of FT.com like any other section home page.

What makes this project innovative?

The fundamental unit of news on most news websites is a story consisting primarily of text, and perhaps containing some visualisations as a secondary asset. The FT today produces dozens graphics each day, from simple charts to large scale news applications featuring dynamic or interactive data visualisations. But these graphics have until now not had parity with text: our visuals have been locked away inside articles, impervious to search. Since we now design these graphics as "microstories" that can stand on their own outside the context of a story, such as on social media, we should find a way of allowing them to be displayed as a primary unit of content — much like text, audio or video —  with their own home page that can be browsed and searched like any other.

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

We measure the number of subscribers with monthly repeat visits to the page each month, benchmarking against other section pages on the site, along with qualitative reader feedback gathered via a form on the page.

Source and methodology

The graphics hub page uses the FT's content APIs to indentify stories that contain graphics and then displays each graphic in reverse chronologial order. The story's headline and summary text is only displayed once the graphic is selected. Since most graphics contain only limited searchable text, users can find graphics on particular subjects by searching through the metadata applied to the graphics and the stories that contain them. Graphics editors also have the ability to curate the page by "pinning" a prioritised graphic to the top of the page, and by assigning additional metadata to graphics so that their metadata is independent from that of the stories that contain them.

Technologies Used

Different graphics on the page use a large variety of different technologies, but the majority are produced using a combination of R, D3, QGIS and Adobe Illustrator.

Project members

Emily Quinn, Luke Kavanagh, Umberto Babini, Kevin Lambert, Gabor Ottlik, Elena Walton, Terry Roberts, Rasal Sesay, Caroline Lambert, Alan Smith, Martin Stabe, Chris Campbell, Kevin Wilson, Joanna Kao, Robin Kwong, Mustafa Sogancilar and Mark Alderson

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