Today, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu celebrates his decisive win in the Israeli elections, with 30 seats going to his right-wing Likud party in the next Knesset, Israel’s legislative assembly. Now comes the messy part: forming a ruling government with various fractious parties. To contextualize this most current election, The Economist recently published a visualization that shows the political makeup across time of the Knesset.
Their flow chart reflects the meandering and complicated dynamics of political parties in Israel.
This kind of visualization is great for conveying the magnitude of a cluster across time. It is by no means new. Rand McNally published a Histomap in 1931 to show the “relative power of contemporary state, nations and empires” across four thousand years. The “Wall Chart of World History” timeline from the late 1800s condenses the history of the world onto one long piece of paper.
For the 2012 Presidential election, The New York Times wowed information visualizers with the deployment of an interactive showing how each state voted since 1952.
These serpentine charts have been called everything from alluvial diagrams to cluster timelines to Sankey charts. What is clear is their power to convey the dynamics of groups across time.
Storybench’s editor is Aleszu Bajak, a science journalist and former Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. He is an alum of Science Friday, the founder of LatinAmericanScience.org, and is passionate about breaking down the divide between journalists, developers and designers.