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For those critical readers: your help might well be needed (see below). As a fellow European, I probably have the right to attest how the European Parliament is perceived as huge, complex and hopelessly convoluted. Within Europe, there is little news reporting about its discussions or decisions, and so there exist even less accountability about what the elected politicians, their political groups, or their respective countries, actually voted for. Part of the problem might be that the political bastion that is the EU often seems to be considered as a second-rank outlet for retired, somehow failed, or disillusioned politicians.

Now compare that with the recent momentum building around the US website data.gov, which will aim to make a repository of US government information available online in user-friendly and accessible formats. With the next European Parliament elections just a 2 months away, it might be time for some change on the European front.

Enter EPVotes [epvote.eu], a new data portal that aims to drastically clarify the votes of all the European Parliament Members. Conceptualized and designed within the last few weeks, and still relatively limited in its data content, "Noise in the Wires" came up with a minimal interface that summarizes the decisions of Political Groups and Committees, list the details of discussed texts, and augments geographical maps with the country-specific decision making. It seems all the data is gathered from the European Parliament website, and extracted from common Word documents. Planned for the immediate future is the inclusion of political profile of each Member of the European Parliament based on their votes (e.g. in favour / against alternative energies, immigration...).

Laurent, the website's current designer, is open for your constructive design critique: "The main idea for the design was to keep it simple... no fancy graphics, use lines and white spaces, a reduced colour pallet, and build the page in such a way that one does not need explanatory texts. But by adding features I see that it starts to be crowded. I would need to think about something new. Unfortunately, my design talents are only so good :) Do you have some comments?"

See also the recently updated OECD eXplorer.

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3 COMMENTS

wonderful start! One of the best features is the mag. glass allowing you to drill down into the varying texts a politician voted on after you isolate him/her as your search criteria. I hope something like this gets on data.gov

Wed 15 Apr 2009 at 3:02 AM

Very cool and necessary approach. In a more limited way we did something similar for the German television station ZDF: the parlameter >>> http://parlameter.zdf.de/

For our customer and for us it was absolutely clear that we had to rephrase the voting topics since the legislation lingo is not comprehensible.

In the parlameter, the parlamentary plenum is used as a playing ground where you can further examine the votings by geographic, soziodemographic e.a. criteria.

jo!

Thu 16 Apr 2009 at 8:44 AM
Joachim Gola

Good to see. The design could use a bit of tweaking. It's a bit confusing to someone who doesn't know what the site is. For example, on initial mouseover of the map it's telling me lots of info about a vote, but I don't know which one.

Also, the colours used to represent the percentages is a poor choice. You have a very dark almost black at 3 points on the range. Having a solid Dark Blue/Black as 100% and then a Light Red/Grey as 0% would be a lot clearer.

Overall though, nice to see this kind of thing.

Sun 19 Apr 2009 at 5:54 AM
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