This project lets users calculate their own inflation based on their regular grocery shoppings.
* It allows them to see which items are the most inflation-affected ones in their basket.
* It illustrates how their own inflation stacks up against the overall inflation figures in Germany.
* The user’s selection is saved and the calculator is constantly updated. Therefore, one can use this as his or her personal dashboard for months to come.
The (ongoing) impact is that users are enabled to make informed choices to reduce their exposure to the sky-rocketing inflation. Instead of having the simplistic assumption that everything became more expensive by the same amount, they can see that the specific inflation varies greatly from product to product. Instead of using a highly technical Excel sheet from the Office of National Statistics that defines inflation for subgroups of products using indices, they can learn about inflation in an environment that resembles their shopping experience.
We are using scrapers to get the latest data from Germany’s Office of National Statistics. And we used scrapers and self-drawn samples to collect a database with base prices for around 300 products. Having these base prices and the inflation indices of the German ONS, we can update for each product what it should cost now, e.g. what the price of a sack of potatoes, of a pack of minced meat should be at the moment.
For the viz, we are using Svelte and D3. For the illustration, our designer Wanda has hand-drawn all of them to give the calculator a consistent look-and-feel.
Context about the project:
We think that the crucial part of this calculator is that it is closer to the habits and average lives of users than most inflation calculators that are out there. Few of us know exactly their gas bills, their weekly spending on groceries or how much one has paid for leisure activities. However, people know what they would get, if they were in a supermarket right now. To show them how the inflation of each of their products varies, what the overall extra cost is and what they could have bought for this amount of money back then, is a full service package.
What can other journalists learn from this project?
What made this project special in our view is the overall design process. How we had multiple rounds of user-testing and mockups to create an application that is not just a one-off but something that users will keep using.