Data Viz Done Right

March 21, 2016

Makeover Monday: Women's Rights Around the World - An Interactive Graphic

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Wow! This week’s Makeover Monday was a really tough data set. I struggled to come up with something that I thought communicated effectively. I had an idea in my head, yet when I tried to execute that idea, it simply didn’t work.

But first, let’s take a look at the original graphic from the Guardian Datablog.


What works well?

  • The interaction is fantastic.
  • It’s colourful, which captured my attention immediately.
  • I really like the pop up list of rights you see when you click on a specific bar.

What doesn’t work well?

  • There are way too many colours.
  • Arranging the countries in an arc makes it difficult to compare countries. For example, the United States is on the outside, which automatically makes it look larger than any country farther inside the circle even though they may take up the same percentage of the arc.
  • The equal scaling makes no sense at all. Why would you want to scale them equally?
  • Does the population scaling scale by total population or female population?
  • Comparing countries across women’s rights is basically impossible.

I started with the idea of a long infographic and quickly realised that this would hinder the interactivity I was after. If I want you to compare countries, then I should have them all in a single screen. I then thought about creating a bump chart. Here’s the result of that…not so good!


Back to the drawing board I went. I knew I wanted to include a few things in particular:

  1. A way to filter by region
  2. A way to show and compare all countries within a category of women’s rights
  3. A map to display possible geographic concentrations
  4. Emphasis on the countries that are performing worst
  5. Interactivity, like the original, that displays each question and if the criteria is met
  6. Action filters where it makes sense
  7. Simple instructions


For my viz, I also made the assumption, for the sake of time, that Yes responses were the only positive responses. Given all of those criteria, here is my submission for this week’s Makeover Monday. Enjoy!

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