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August 22, 2016

Makeover Monday: Together We Can Eradicate Malaria in Africa


This week for Makeover Monday we are tackling the malaria epidemic. The fact that countries still have to worry about malaria despite the prevention measures available is quite sad. Fortunately, the Tableau Foundation is helping and you can help too. Please visit to help.

Let’s look at the original visualisation on the World Health Organization website.

What works well?

  • Really nice interactivity with both hover and click actions
  • You can make any are full screen
  • Consistent color palette
  • Easy to understand

What doesn’t work well?

  • Map is way too wide
  • List of countries doesn’t aid in understanding
  • Time series and bar chart don’t adjust for the data that is filtered
  • Timeline is missing several years, even though the data exists
  • Time series doesn’t display anything until you click on a country

I wanted my visualisation to fix the issues listed above, but also to be more focused on Africa. I also wanted it to serve as a call to action. I start with a summary and background information, dig a bit into some insights I found, and wrap it up with a way people can help.


  1. Replies
    1. I didn't feel it needed a legend because red implies bad. Design choice.

  2. Asome viz Andy. However, I needed a little time to understand that the last graph shows only countries with 1000+ deaths. Maybe highlighting the "at least 1,000 deaths" in the description above would make things easier to understand.

    1. Good point! Goes to show a viz is never done.

  3. Great stuff. Very engaging and educational and a huge improvement over the WHO viz.

    A few comments:

    If comparing countries (map and line chart), I'd opt for deaths per capita. Then, the map would be more comparable and the line more meaningful as presumably most countries' populations have changed a fair amount over that time span. Although, I guess maybe you didn't have annual pop data...

    And when comparing countries' change over time (the heat map), I'd opt for % change rather than # of deaths overall. For example, you can't see much change in most countries b/c the color scale is stretched by the high numbers from DRC and Kenya so all the countries w lower numbers are light orange even if they've had dramatic declines %-wise.

    Also, I wonder if the 28% increase stat in the bottom chart skewed by pop increases over the 14 years, i.e., countries are more likely to surpass 1K as their pop increases. Another reason to opt for deaths per capita. Also wondering if part of the reason is that there is no data for a lot of countries in 2000?

    Thx for sharing this one!


    1. All great feedback Steve. I opted to only use the same data as the original source, as I see MM as making the original view better. Hence the reason I chose to use deaths and not deaths per capita everywhere.

    2. Andy,
      Steve (wexler?) has a great point which could really improve the usability of the data. While I agree with your MM constraint of using only the original source data, it would be great to loop Steve's feedback to the WHO team who made the original viz. Does anybody have any contacts there?
      Also, great work on the viz Andy, one of my favorites of yours so far!
      Tom Davenport

  4. Thanks for sharing this wonderful viz. I assume you are already using version 10 since I cannot open the workbook in 9.3.

  5. Hi all here is my take on the makeover: