United Way of Winnipeg and IISD needed a web app to dynamically turn statistical data into coherent charts and infographics so citizens, academics, researchers, business owners and policy makers could make informed decisions to create a better city. Tactica was approached to provide branding direction, UI design, data visualization, and semantic component theming, and systems integration for PEG — an innovative web portal for community indicators of well-being for the city of Winnipeg. In essence, Tactica needed to make data speak visually.
Tactica created big data visualizations for PEG’s community indicator system (CIS) — an organized group of themes that show the health of the city including: basic needs; health; education & learning; social vitality; governance; built environment; economy; and natural environment. Tactica provided the vision that turned a sea of semantic data into a collection of data visualizations and stories, designed to coalesce into how to make Winnipeg a better community moving forward.
Data and demographics and quantitative indicators of well-being are matched with stories and narratives from affected parties, videos, and a variety of display and visualization options. Much of the supporting data is organized by the 236 neighborhoods in Winnipeg, or broader community areas, with comparative baselines to city, province and nation. The information is both hard and soft data and is presented in engaging, exciting and dynamic ways. Using the best of current social media, PEG is meant to be a virtual meeting place and town hall for the public to share and engage one another.
This iteration is but a first expression of PEG’s longer-term vision — yet it already has the backbone to take on these labours. A concept explorer allows the public to explore and navigate through the entire information space; much of the information is mapped and presented by locational relevance; narratives and stories and videos are linked contextually to topics and issues; and many, many dashboards can be created and displayed for showing trends and comparing neighborhoods.
Tactica’s designers and developers worked closely with PEG stakeholders and their development team, Structured Dynamics, to conceptualize and deliver a seamless project that met the high expectations of everyone involved. Tactica’s deliverables included: art direction, UI/UX design, Drupal Theming (CSS, XHTML, PHP), Open Construct theming (PHP) and Flex theming (ActionScript, CSS).
The PEG beta site was unveiled for the first time to an enthusiastic welcome at the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Partnership Forum on November 5, 2010. It immediately received positive feedback from senior officials in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Federal Government, University of Winnipeg, Royal Bank, Assiniboine Credit Union, Chamber of Commerce and non profits organizations.
More importantly, it began leading to real change in the community. For example, a neighbourhood specific gap for the indicator of a child’s readiness to learn when entering school was identified using the PEG data visualization. The discrepancy illustrated that a child’s educational preparedness corresponded to income level. Backed by data that could be clearly and visually communicated, the Government of Manitoba, United Way of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council and the business community joined forces to establish an Early Childhood Development Innovation Fund, with the commitment to improve children’s lives.
United Way of Winnipeg
United Way of Winnipeg is a member of the United Way/Centraide Canada. The national organization works with, and for, local United Ways, providing strategic direction and creating connections for sharing information and resources. Next to governments, the Canadian family of United Ways is the largest funder of the voluntary sector and social services in the country.
International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD)
The International Institute for Sustainable Development is a Canadian-based, international public policy research institute for sustainable development.