America After 3PM

Afterschool Alliance / 2019 / Education, Racial Equity

Hero image for the America After 3pm, designed by Graphicacy.


Graphicacy partnered with the Afterschool Alliance for a complete redesign of the America After 3pm site. Graphicacy delivered a scrollytelling narrative and a data explorer that visually tell the story of afterschool care in the United States, and effectively highlight key trends and important data points, for a diverse audience of parents, educators and policymakers.

Background and Challenge

The Afterschool Alliance works to ensure that all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs by engaging public will to increase public and private investment in afterschool program initiatives at the national, state, and local levels. For years, afterschool programs have kept kids safe, inspired them to learn, and helped working families. Core findings from America After 3PM (AA3), the largest survey on afterschool that spans 16 years, include:

  • Unmet demand has skyrocketed. For every child in an afterschool program, 3 are waiting to get in.
  • Demand remains strong during the pandemic, as parents see programs providing critical support.

In partnership with Graphicacy, the Alliance wanted to create an online experience that would simply frame this story as well as provide a data tool that would allow users to explore the core findings of the AA3 research in greater depth.

The challenge of this particular project was to effectively tell a complex story in visual form –and– create a user friendly narrative and interface that could accommodate different lenses like demand, benefits, challenges and support in relation to afterschool programs, add context around COVID-19, and include special reports focused on summer programs, STEM, rural communities and healthy futures.

Opportunity and Solution

Research has shown that afterschool programs provide critical opportunities for children to reach their full potential. This project was an opportunity for the Afterschool Alliance to show the unmet demand for, and benefits from, these types of programs in a data-driven way as well as touch on which children and families are missing out, and why.

The redesigned AA3 site is made up of two interwoven components – a scrollytelling landing page and a data explorer.

The landing page for AA3 serves as an executive summary, a short, engaging overview of the key points from this year’s data on afterschool care. Chunked by topic, a casual visitor can glean the key takeaways in just a few minutes, even if they never dive deeper into the data explorer page. Graphicacy used a technique called scrollytelling, which integrates animation and transitions into the natural scrolling behavior of web browsers. As users scroll down the page, charts and graphics animate into place, and transition to new charts. Each chart is paired with a short description, which is woven together into a larger narrative.

From this opening narrative, there are several access points along the way to dive deeper using the data explorer view. This companion page allows the user to see all the underlying data at both National and U.S. State levels. The data explorer has a robust and accessible top navigation panel that facilitates easy browsing between geographies and across topics, so the full data landscape is only a couple of clicks away. Given the breadth of the underlying data, chart types were purposely kept simple to allow users to scan a wide range of data points quickly with minimal frustration.

A montage of visualizations of the scrollytelling and data tool, created for Afterschool Alliance's platform, designed by Graphicacy

“America After 3PM data is a wealth of information on the supply and demand for afterschool programs. Thanks to the work with Graphicacy, we have been able to make available more than 6,500 data points in a thoughtful, coherent, and visually compelling manner.”

Afterschool Alliance

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