Wage vs Inflation





With all the talk these days of rampant inflation and whether or not peoples' wages were keeping up I decided to create a tool that they could use to find out. Lucky for me, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has an API on their inflation calculator (I studied economics in college, remember). I knew it needed to be simple, and it needed to explain inflation in simple terms. There had to be a way for people to see, not just whether or not their salary outpaced inflation, but by how much.


I don't know what I'm doing, right? I know front-end development but I've never actually had to create a single-page application in VueJS (which this site was created in) that makes API calls and returns variable data. I've always had a team of developers who could do it for me. But this one is just a pet project so I'm diving in deep to teach myself the full capabilities of Vue. I know the JavaScript necessary to display it all, I just have to put the pieces together.


Four years of college I guess? I studied economics, especially as it pertains to wages and productivity in the modern age. I'm not a Marxist, but I do think people deserve to improve their quality of life as they get better and more proficient. I've always encouraged people to compare their wages to inflation any time they get a raise. It helps to know if it was a "raise" or just a market correction of their base salary. This is a way to show it and try to simplify the data coming from the BLS and the Federal Reserve.

Design Goals

To be a useful tool it has to serve two primary goals: be easy to use, and to be clean in simple in the way it displays the data. But, just for aesthetics, I also want it to look kind of cool and colorful. If people are going to visit this it can't look like a Word Doc that someone turned into HTML like the BLS did. I plan to share this around social media and encourage others to do so as well.

The process.


The main brainstorming session was me just me noting stuff out. I know this isn't exciting, but I'm working on this project by myself! Since I have a tendency to be liberal on how much information I share, I just listed out all of the things I want this tool to do. And then started asking all my friends what was important to them and pared back what wasn't necessary.

My whiteboard right now

Initial Sketches and Whiteboards

I'm in this stage right now. I've made some basic mockups in Figma, but that was mostly because I felt inspired and started picking colors and fonts. Plus, I wanted to have a couple of screenshots to show you on this page so you didn't get bored.

Main inputs

Displayed results

To be continued.