The Vision

Advancement Project California is renowned for data-rich websites that bring to the surface striking racial disparities in health, housing, economic opportunity, and other areas. With WeBudget, APCA puts public school funding data at the fingertips of advocates’ for the first time ever, in English and in Spanish, for each of roughly 900 schools within Los Angeles Unified School District.

The Challenges

Build a user-friendly data visualization platform that is bilingual and mobile-optimized to present school funding data. The tool presents school funding data that automatically updates from a live API – an API that was itself being built throughout the project, with data being added and updated throughout. By week two of an aggressive eleven-week schedule, the pandemic response went into high gear. APCA faced elevated and unexpected demands. As we forged ahead, we knew we’d need rigorous quality assurance systems to provide detailed tracking through resolution for any issues of data, design, content, translation, or other user experience concerns.

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Results so Far

We provided a strong narrative and approachable design. Public school funding processes are complex, especially for new advocates, notwithstanding the reams of data, methods, and terminology. Provoc worked from an initial set of concept blueprints to develop interactive charts.

The Work

Provoc’s quick prioritization of “nice-to-have” vs. “must have” allowed us to ensure delivery of all critical features. For example, we evaluated ArcGIS Cedar, Highcharts, and other data visualization solutions, looking at features and costs. While we really liked Cedar, we found it lacking in event handlers, leading us to select Highcharts for the project. We fully leveraged its formatting, language, and export capabilities. We also incorporated parallel design and development in 2-week sprints. One collaborative team focused on user experience and narrative design while the other  built and tested foundational components of the data visualization and CMS platforms.