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October 30, 2017

Makeover Monday: Does having a lot of public holidays lead to a happier country?

Onward we go with another week of Makeover Monday. This week Eva is asking us to review this viz from The Telegraph about public holidays around the world.

What works well?

  • People understand and like maps so this will capture their attention
  • Using a consistent color scale for all countries
  • Ensuring countries with no data are white (kind of like blanking them out)
  • Simple tooltips

What could be improved?

  • Red has a negative connotation, is this the best use for red? I'd say not.
  • It can be difficult to compare countries.
  • Using a filled map can make smaller countries impossible to find. Take Europe as an example; it's nearly impossible to see European countries without zooming in.
  • Using the search and entering a continent zooms you in way too far. This is completely broken.
  • There's no title. If you saw this independently of the article, you would have no idea what it's about.

My goals

  • Make comparing countries easier
  • Consider supplementing the viz with additional data
  • Use story points for a step-by-step makeover
  • Answer a simple question: does more public holidays mean a happier country?


  1. Big fan of your work sir. On this occasion i'm curious as to why you decided to encode the colour as quadrant, when this is already implicit in the x,y position. My instinct would have been to code the country by continent.

  2. Please check out my viz!/vizhome/HappinessandPublicHolidays/Dashboard1
    How to make country labels colored by its quadrant?

    1. Click on the Label shelf, click on Font, click on Match Mark Color.