Just over a year ago, we gave a preview of some work that team member Olivia Cheng was working on. As of today, we’re proud to announce that work has become the new openstates.org.
The new state overview page
The new site has been something that Miles, Olivia, and myself have worked on in our spare time for the past year. We’re proud that it is now in a state that is ready to be shown off to the world in time for the start of the 2019 sessions.
You’ll see that the new site is a lot less visually cluttered, with clearer fonts, bolder colors, and a generally improved aesthetic that Olivia worked on. Designing for the huge degree of variance we encounter state-to-state is a real challenge and Olivia helped us tackle some thorny problems.
The bill search feature is aimed at helping users drill down to what they’re interested in.
Responsive mobile view of a legislator’s page.
The original Open States website launched back in 2012, and without a responsive design. The last seven years have really changed how people browse sites, and we’re proud to say that the new site is responsive. Even as we iron out a few rough edges, users will find what is currently there a marked improvement over the old mobile experience (or lack thereof).
If you’re using Open States on your smartphone you’ll see nice mobile-ready pages with minimal overhead in case you’re on a slower mobile network.
We aren’t stopping here. The new site also gives us a more modern platform to build upon, completing the major overhaul we began two years ago. It has been a long road, but from here we‘ll no longer be tied to our 7 year old legacy data pipeline and will be able to repurpose the effort (and money, >50% of our server costs) we were spending maintaining that to double down on data quality and feature requests such as improved search and notifications. We’re all incredibly excited for what this means for the project, stay tuned!
A Note About Old Data
You’ll notice that right now, historical data (pre-2017) is not available in search. We’ll revisit this soon but wanted to focus on performance and surfacing the data 90% of users are interested in. We of course, haven’t thrown out any data though, it is all there behind the scenes. You’ll see that old URLs like https://openstates.org/ca/bills/20132014/AB60/ continue to work, but they’ll just look like the old site. Legislator URLs will also redirect to their new form whenever possible.