So it's inevitably become the time to pivot. It was smooth sailing with my idea for too long, so something was bound to go wrong. I have to pivot my process in order to preserve my concept. As it turns out, the all-powerful OpenSecrets API gives no wiggle room for manipulating the data provided with their calls. Looking back, this makes a lot of sense as I look at all the precedence I have that have made mashup websites with OpenSecrets and I wondered why all of their data is in the same ugly, boring format. The API doesn't allow for that to change.
For this reason, I have decided not to use the API. This may seem like a rash decision, but the truth is I think that using it would completely go against my concept statement. My goal here is to create a website that presents the data in a better way than OpenSecrets does. In a way that creates actual traction for the upcoming elections with millennials. If I do use the API, I am just another one of the many mashups that already exist and don't make enough of an impact.
Instead, I will be manipulating the bulk data. The issue here is that OpenSecrets does not have up-to-date bulk data downloads for the 2016 candidates or ANY bulk data download option for all the organizations. Huge problem. Therefore, I have to manually grab that information from the website. I am cutting out an immense amount of the information currently shown in organization profile pages and only include the amount of money given to each political party plus the bills each company has lobbied for in 2014. I think some of those bills are incredibly fascinating to discover.
So, what does this mean? Clearly I can no longer have a full 200,000 organization search with beautiful and accurate profile pages for each. I have started including the data manually in the top 50 brands where Millennials spend the most money. What I've realized is that this is actually a gigantic undertaking that requires the years and years of work that OpenSecrets itself put into it's website, to basically create my own, more simplified version. I think for the purposes of this final and getting the website published soon, I can just finish the profiles for all the candidates and the top 50 brands, implement parse with the blacklisted button, and leave a note explaining to users that this project is a work in progress.
I will be keeping the google custom search at the bottom of every page which only searches OpenSecrets and LittleSis for those looking for other brands or more information.
What I still need to work on: finding a way to make my tables fit in better with my current web design, implementing Parse.
Here is my second prototype: