Mexico Under Siege: The drug war at our doorstep is a series that the LA Times has consistently updated since June 2008. The long complex series uses a combination of text, interactive graphics, and photo and video stories to tie in all of the pieces of this ongoing problem.
The main page starts with a brief description of the series and a photo that sums up a major point: the drug war leads to too many senseless deaths. My favorite feature on the main page though is the bottom right corner that shows the latest updates. This to me is a good move because it shows that this problem is ongoing and not just a one time story.
Users navigate the page using a toolbar located just under the main title, this makes it easy to find and the arrows help create a sense of flow for how the story should read.
The interactive map was a particularly engaging part of the story for me. Along the side there are profiles of the main players and users can read their excerpts efficiently just by scrolling over their names- no clicking necessary. As users scroll over their names, it also darkens the part of the map where that person is located or most active.
This page also contains a shocking statistic and the orange dots on the map represent the death tolls of different areas, scrolling over the orange dots tells users the location and the number of deaths.
The final part of the interactive map is the Deaths by Week bar graph at the bottom, users can move the bars to zone in on specific time periods and as they do the statistic and the orange dots change accordingly.
The next section of the series is the media gallery, which contains a collage-like display that becomes interactive when the mouse is over the box. Users simply have to move the mouse around to navigate the mix of media and click when they want to enlarge a specific piece of media.
An added feature to this section is the ability to filter the kind of media that is displayed, for instance if a user wants to watch videos only, they could simply choose the video section and all other media would fade away.
The entire time a user navigates the site, the complete series of full text stories is available if they just scroll down. It is organized by date, but can also be sorted by several different topics.
The design of the page is very simple and really doesn’t have anything too distinctive too tell what the content of the series is. I think it could have been created in a more exciting way if it were a site of it’s own as opposed to a section of the main site.
Overall, though, I think this series is set-up in a very user-friendly way. It is simple and easy to navigate despite the mass amounts of information that it holds. The navigation bar is easy to use and guides users through the story in an effective way. Filters within some of the sections allow users to personalize their experience. The series did a really good job organizing all the information.