April 17, 2016
Makeover Monday: Where Do Women Have the Most and Least Political Representation in the U.S.?
Yes, it’s Sunday, but there are weeks when I simply don’t have the time for Makeover Monday on Monday. This is one of those weeks. For Makeover Monday this week, we are reviewing a visualisation created by the National Conference on State Legislatures. According to the NCSL:
"Approximately 1,809 women serve in the 50 state legislatures at the beginning of the 2016 legislative session. Women make up 24.5 percent of all state legislators nationwide."
Wow! Only 24.5%…that’s sad America. We need to do something about it. Those figures are accompanied by this map that shows the percentage of women in state legislatures in 2016.
This viz is definitely not terrible. There are several things that this map does well:
- Using four distinct bins for the colouring makes it easy to see concentrations like all of the yellow in the middle of the U.S. and all of the green on the west coast and northeast
- Making the extra squares for the small states that would be tough to click on
- Nice interactivity on hover
- Good tool tips
But I feel like this is so much more to this story. So when I created the data, I included population rates by state. This way I could look at thedisparity between the female population in each U.S. state and the percentage of women in state legislatures.
What would I do differently?
- Get rid of the filled map; while they included the extra callouts for the small states, it add more to the viz than is needed
- There’s no sense of how under-represented women are. Are we supposed to just assume each state is 50% female then do the math in our head? I think that’s too much work for the reader.
- No mobile version
- Not enough distinction in the colours. Why not use a continuous colour scale?
- Need a more impactful title
- Need a better way to make comparisons
- There’s no ranking of the states. How do I identify the best and the worst?
Given these recommendations, I’ve create the viz below. I also made this device responsive, so you will see a different viz depending on whether you’re on a computer, tablet or phone. I did this because I want to learn to design for mobile first, something John Burn-Murdoch has recommended to us when he’s come to chat with us at the Data School.