Blog Post 1: A Year In Waste

This site presents a project done by Al Jazeera America about food waste. The author himself recorded every food item his family threw away during 2013, and found out that they wasted far more foods than expected. The author used simple infographic and food icons through the article and it is not as complicated as some other multimedia works. But the design matches the casual diary-like style of the article and makes the reading experience easy and informative.

The site is pretty easy to navigate. To me, one of the scary things about reading long-form stories online is the never-ending page and the tiny and almost unmovable scroll bar. That’s why I seldom finished reading long-form pieces and always got distracted. But this article is short and sweet; you can scroll down and read through the whole page in less than ten minutes without having to click to go to another section, and yet it contains everything I want to know about food waste in America.

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Credit: Al Jazeera America

The cover picture is intriguing and stylish. It made me wonder whether the designer did waste those foods to get the messy background of eggshells, tomato sauce, mushrooms, grains and leftovers. This picture with the title A YEAR IN WASTE clearly tells the topic of this site is food waste, and when scrolled down, a subtitle and introduction in bigger letters gives a better sense about the content of the project.

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Credit: Al Jazeera America

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After several paragraph about food waste condition in his family, the author goes on to further explore the larger picture of food waste in the country. An inforgraphic interpreting data from United States Department of Agriculture that tracks food loss shows the breakdown of 31% waste of food supply in America. The inforgraphic uses different colored and sized circles to show the scale of waste in every category. If time and resources allows, I think a more interactive and visual one could be made.

Following up, the author analyzes why so many foods were wasted by the family and gives a list of detailed foods they had wasted — the design that divides the account of the author and the list he made makes it visually more like a real note. The clearly divided categories and detailed units reminded me that food waste of mine kitchen could be as terrible as this.

Overall, this site doesn’t have audio or video to make it an intricate multimedia piece like many we have seen ever since the success of “Snow Fall” by NYT. But it combines great color and clean icons and uses infographic that helps better present the data and content visually.

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One thought on “Blog Post 1: A Year In Waste

  1. I think this is a very interesting piece and it’s portrayed well here. Numbers can leave a big impact when trying to get a point across, so I think that’s why the pounds of food wasted is so effective here. For this type of story, the author did a good job of saying what was important. The story is short and to the point, which is nice.

    I really like the headline art as well as the infographics. They are really simple and easy to understand, but really get the point across. The sidebar is really cool because it shows how much they documented their food waste. I think a lot more could have been done with interactive scrolling to make the page a little more interesting, but the story isn’t that long to begin with so perhaps that’s why they didn’t.

    Overall I like the design and the usability of the design. It’s simple, but all the elements work together well to tell the complete story.

    Liked by 2 people

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