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webpick of the week

Education, Public Service

Periscopic, a socially conscious data visualization firm, created this simple and powerful animated site for the Economic Policy Institute to educate users about the history and reality of economic inequality in the United States. The site helps users understand and relate to complex economic information by responding to each individual’s demographics—someone who just started their professional career will see different information than someone who is ready to retire. Nothing is scripted. The site is comprised of hundreds of small animation assets that are stitched together with JavaScript, and the characters dynamically respond to the information entered. The site also intelligently responds to visitors who arrive via social media links or referrals, and shows content appropriately.

An animated history of economic inequality, narrated by former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, is an essential part of the site. In addition to revealing inequality’s many causes, it establishes the visual and audio style for the entire interactive experience. Dino Citraro, head of strategy at Periscopic, says the site’s aesthetic was intended to provide “enough illustrative detail so as to be taken seriously,” but also “a lighthearted simplicity, to ensure the characters would be approachable and disarming.”