Assignment: Given the emerging, product-based mindset of design journalists combined with original reporting for a working news organization, craft a design product that is creative, innovative, storytelling and tailored to a specific audience using skills learned throughout the semester.
For this assignment I created two design elements that work together. With the holidays coming up, many Americans are getting tested for COVID-19 before visiting family. I determined it would be newsworthy and timely to create visual elements to indicate testing locations for Athens residents. My goal was to create a visual representation that helps viewers choose where and how they would like to be tested. I wanted to design a “one-stop-shop” element where viewers could have all they needed to know at their fingertips. Both of my elements would ideally be included in an article explaining the importance of getting tested before and after travelling as well as prior to coming in contact with family. The article would have the infographic first to educate readers on what type of tests are commonly available. It would then have the map embedded to show readers their testing site options.
The infographic is designed to inform readers about different types of tests without overloading them with information. I made the sentences concise and included bullet points to make the content easily digestible. In line with this, I chose a strict modular design for simplicity sake and to ensure the content is easy to source through. I bolded the titles of each section so readers do not have to hunt for what they’re looking for. I also included visual representations of how the tests are performed so readers can know what to expect if they are only able to glance at the visual. The PCR test is most commonly used, so I listed it at the top to create hierarchy. Similarly, the least trusted/useful method, antibody testing, is listed at the end. That being said, they are all of equal importance and my goal was not to rank them against each other, so I kept each box and the font within each section the same. Ideally, this element gives readers an in-depth understanding of the different methods of testing before they view the map so it doesn’t need to be explained in the Story Map, which would take away from its simplicity and core purpose: guiding Athens residents to a convenient testing site.
While I was debating between a grayscale version and the red version, I chose red because it is reminiscent of the medical field and the color is more eye-catching. I alternated between a darker and lighter red in order to show clear separation between the methods listed while utilizing line separators to further help the eye distinguish between the three options. I liked the look of the sans-serif font for the headline, subhead, and headings, although for readability sake I used a serif font for the description.
I also created a Story Map to show testing locations in and near Athens. I used images I found online of the buildings to help indicate what to look for. I also included the phone number, types of tests offered, cost of tests, and whether or not insurance is accepted at the site. Designing the graphic first enabled me to keep the testing option available short without having to explain what they are. Due to the tool’s limitations, I wasn’t able to make certain design choices that I believe would make the map more visually appealing. If I had the ability, I would adjust the subtext color to be pure black instead of dark grey to increase readability. I would also consider changing the headline size slightly to make it a little bit smaller. I also would change the style of the markers. While I like that there are pictures of the buildings, I would format them so they look a little bit sleeker. Unfortunately, the program doesn’t allow for those modifications.
The Story Map’s purpose is to help people navigate to different testing sites and choose a location closest to them. I wanted to include multiple different locations across Athens and even a few outside of Athens so viewers could select nearby locations. It is designed for an audience that has the time to click through an interactive map and find a preferable location. Similarly, it’s designed for viewers who own vehicles or have access to reliable methods of transportation, which also means viewers likely have access to a computer or phone with internet.