Data Viz Done Right

October 7, 2018

Makeover Monday: Five-year Cancer Survival Rates in America

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It's been an eventful week in America, but irrespective of your politics, this week's Makeover Monday is something we can all feel positively about. Cancer survival rates are increasing!

Here's the original viz:


What works well?

  • Simple title that explains what the viz is about
  • Cancer types are sorted from highest to lowest based on the five-year survival rate
  • "All cancers" is sorted at the top since it's the overall statistic
  • Using arrows to indicate improving or declining
  • Using different colored dots for each time period
  • Including an explanation for how the data came about

What could be improved?

  • The subtitle is long. I had to read it a couple times to understand it.
  • The viz overall feels kind of busy.
  • By using directional arrows, the change over time is lost. The change isn't linear, but the design could be interpreted that way.
  • Color the arrows by increasing or decreasing. Uterus and Cervix Uteri cancer survival rates have decreased, but that could easily be missed.

What I did

  • Incorporatde the change over time
  • Used BANs for the first period and the last period measured and the difference
  • Used a big dot to indicate a reduction in survival rate
  • Used row banding to guide the eye from left to right (taking a lesson from last week's Workout Wednesday)
  • Provided an option to filter by race and gender
  • Used a set to split the view into the top 9 on the left and the rest on the right; my first version was one long viz, but I didn't like how I had to scroll.
  • Used reference bands vertically and horizontally to give the labels space on the ends of the lines

Click on the image below for the interactive version.


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