The Institute of Fiscal Studies
The Institute of Fiscal Studies (The IFS) has the principal aim of better informing public debate on economics in order to promote the development of effective fiscal policy, something that we at CHD with the mission of making important information more clear, more honest and more effective, wholeheartedly endorse.
The NHS has been facing a growing crisis over funding as supply and demands ever increase, and the IFS came to us and asked if we could help to create a tool which could help people understand the scale of projected NHS funding pressures and think about what these could mean for tax rises or spending cuts in other key areas such as welfare, defence, education or overseas aid.
We wanted to create something that could appeal to anyone regardless of the level of understanding around economics, government spending, or the NHS - but would also still be a valuable tool for experts to demonstrate their points.
- Client : The Institute of Fiscal Studies
- Website : explore.ifs.org.uk
- Issues : Politics, Explaining Complex Information, NHS Funding
- Services Offered : Web Design, Web Development
Spring Statement 2018
The public debate around Philip Hammond's Spring Statement in 2018 was circling around whether there was going to be an increase in funding for the NHS, and if so where would the money come from. The choices, while more complex than outlined here, centred around whether the additional funds would come from even more spending cuts, or from an increase in taxes. The IFS wanted to inform the public as much as possible before the statement so that they could join in the debate.
A simple to use micro-site
We realised that this would be the perfect opportunity to create a simple tool that would put the power in people's hands - the best way to communicate that there are no easy silver bullet solutions was to ask them to outline how they would fund the additional budget requirements themselves.
We created wireframes of the general concept, knowing that we wanted an intuitive and easy to use tool that would allow people to increase taxes, and decrease spending, to see how they would reach the target.
Conveying a lot of information, simply.
We knew that if this tool was going to be genuinely useful, then we would have to give contextual information to give the figures real world meaning, instead of just being abstract statistics and numbers.
At the same time we didn't want people to be overwhelmed by information, but instead to allow people to find the context as and when they needed it, and hiding it when it wasn't there.
The Dynamic Sidebar
We created the idea of a dynamic sidebar that could slide out and in from the side of the screen that would give more context and information around what the user was playing with on screen.
The sidebar, which covered the larger funding total, also needed to display the same information as when it was uncovered - and so we also included a horizontal funding total but in a much smaller space.
How to solve a problem like mobile
It was it's own challenge to create an experience that worked as well on desktop as it would on mobile - and fitting in that much information whilst maintaining the simplicity and intuitiveness was something we didn't want to compromise on.
By designing with mobile and desktop in mind right from the very beginning, and knowing (somewhat) instinctively how to setup the project from a development sense so that as little would need to be repeated / re-written for the various screen sizes was key.
As a result, the sidebar goal target that we created for the desktop version of the site could be easily repurposed to the bottom of the screen on mobile, allowing easy access to the sliders and tax inputs, whilst still keeping the same sidebar for additional information.