Inaugural: visualizing presidential speeches

 

Inauguration speeches in the United States set the tone for the new administration and they're a reflection of the events of the time. They also reference the biggest worries of the population and provide a snapshot about the politics of every era.

This project explores all inauguration speeches available at the time (from George Washington to the second administration of Barack Obama) using a notational system to classify topics extracted through Natural Language analysis techniques. The visualization can be explored here. The first part of the visualization displays an overview of all the concepts included in the analysis and a frequency count.

 Concept frequency bar chart.

Concept frequency bar chart.

The second part of the visualization was created using a notational system to represent the length and relative frequency of concepts per speech. The user can quickly see how long a speech was and whether the tone was overall more positive, negative, friendly or antagonistic.

Portion of the small multiples visualization.

The visualization allows to extract the main ideas and general tone of a speech without having to read it, such as in the case of the 1865 inauguration where President Lincoln most certainly addressed a nation scarred by war:

 President Lincoln's second term inaugural speech. The text can be scrolled down in the live version of the visualization.

President Lincoln's second term inaugural speech. The text can be scrolled down in the live version of the visualization.

Original sketches featured alternative notational systems that were later discarded, but proved to be useful for discussion and feedback sessions with peers.

Several mockups were created in Sketch and then turned into interactive prototypes in InVision as part of the design process.

inaugural_sketches