2016 Election Coverage

For political junkies, politics is a sport. Our work with POLITICO centered around a key moment in this leading media organization’s political coverage — the 2016 Presidential Election — and the idea that political news coverage follows a story arc like sports. Election related events, like debates, caucuses, primaries, and conventions, include a pre-game of predictions and anticipation, the exciting game time itself, and a flood of post-game analysis, opinion, and data. Each point of the arc drives distinct user behaviors and a particular mix of content that tells the story of that moment in the election. We worked with POLITICO to design a unique experience for these event-based stadium moments and election day itself.

  • Challenge

    Leverage the massive traffic spikes on POLITICO.com during high profile political events (“stadium moments”) by showing the right type and volume of content at the right moment of the sports-based narrative arc – pre-game, game time, and post-game coverage.

  • Solution

    We designed an experience that allows election moments to take center stage, but doesn’t get in the way of non-election news as it breaks. This meant modular elements that can be switched on to make the stadium moment explicit, but that can still live in harmony with the everyday newscycle.

  • Results

    Our design solution included persistent, branded elements that can be switched on to visually signal a stadium moment and create a clear grouping of content related to that event. A utility header, traveling modules, and a masonry-style band can be turned on and are reserved exclusively for content from that election moment.

How we did it.

  • Editorial Working Sessions

    We held a number of editorial working session with POLITICO’s editors and reporters to understand their election coverage, and how content types and coverage varies depending on the stadium moment.

  • Making the Stadium Moment Explicit

    A global utility header can be flipped on during an election moment, which helps reinforce the brand identity of POLITICO’s election coverage, and draws the user to the most important information and coverage for this election moment. The utility header is flexible and can feature a range of components: a feed of the latest content related to that election event, a countdown clock, a countup clock, stats, calls-to-action, videos, sponsorships, email signup, or utilities.

  • Responsive Maps & Tables

    Election results means a large volume of data and visualizations. Even more challenging, all of that data needed to be easily viewed across many devices and screen sizes. We revamped the election maps and tables, resulting in a responsive system to fluidy display election results across varying devices.

  • Part of making each each moment explicit was having a unique, branded identity that could be customized for each moment (E.g., The Iowa Caucuses, The 2016 Democratic National Convention), while still remaining consistent with POLITICO’s existing brand. This identity stamps the center of the utility header, clearly marking all stadium moments on every page during an event.  

  • The new stream of election content can be presented through stats, quotes, or traditional headlines, with the goal of standing out visually but remaining true to POLITICO’s brand. It allows election stories to not get lost in a sea of headlines, and keeps the election content stream engaging and dynamic.

  • Large spikes in traffic during stadium moments means a unique and compelling opportunity for advertisers. Each design element considered a way to appeal to advertisers, going beyond traditional banner ads.