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November 6, 2017

Makeover Monday: Life Expectancy at Birth, 1960-2015

This data set was originally supposed to be use for Makeover Monday Live at TC17, but given what had just happened, we decided to postpone it thinking it would have been poor taste. I'm really excited about this week because this is one of those data sets (much like the global warming data set last year) that is quite simple, yet provides for so many different visualisation options.

I went a bit overboard this week. Before I get to that, let's review the original viz:

What works well?

  • Nice interactivity across the charts
  • Maps are always easy to understand and audiences recognize them quickly
  • Using simple colors for the color legend
  • Simple, easy to use filtering

What could be improved?

  • The bar chart should start at zero.
  • The bars are in reverse order.
  • The map makes comparing small countries nearly impossible.

What I did

I found a great post by Nathan Yau back in January based on this same data set. In it, he created 25 different vizzes with this data, which helped me draw inspiration. I had also been planning a table calcs training class for The Data School, so I spent a lot of time on this over the past month or so building lots of vizzes. In the end, I've come up with 10 alternatives.

The first viz is my the favorite of everyone I've shown these to, so I'll use this as my entry for this week. Farther down, you'll see the other nine as images, which you can click on to go to the live version.


  1. Very Interesting. Can you please also help us with the data? So that we can practicing ourselves or please provide us the link where we can download the data published in the dashboard.

    1. With a bit of simple research, you could have found it on the Makeover Monday website.

  2. Thanks, Andy. My apologies, I will research first from here onward!

  3. Great job Andy, I agree that your first one is the best and I like the addition of the income. I think the original viz could of made a slight change by changing the colour of the country that is selected, highlighting it. The one aspect I really enjoyed about the original viz is the ability to easily select and compare countries.

  4. Excellent work as usual... I wanted to do the same scatter plot as on sheet # 6, but I cannot get the spread of data points like you have. I tried to download the workbook, but I have 10.3 version installed so cannot look at how you did it. Can you please share a 10.3 version of the workbook or share how you added the spread of the data points. For me they all appear on single column, for each year.