We knew we needed to redesign the homepage for our Facebook Political Ad Collector. The original homepage let readers search for ads with keywords. This didn’t get much traffic, didn’t offer much guidance to non-expert readers. And it was more or less identical to Facebook’s recently-launched Ad Archive – which had a complete(-ish) view of all US political ads.

So we thought about how to design our homepage to highlight an important aspect of the microtargeted political ads – how they’re targeted. After multiple design iterations, we decided to let readers pick a set of frequently-targeted attributes, like age, gender, state and political leaning, and the app would then show them a sampling of ads shown to people with those attributes.

It got a lot of traffic and, I think, does a good job at showing what a hypothetical person with a certain profile sees – and then letting the reader mutate one aspect of that profile to see what the first person didn’t see.

I didn’t do much of the frontend design (or the awesome illustrations); I did a lot of the conceptualization and backend work, in Rust, Ruby on Rails and React/Redux.