Makeover Monday – Scottish Multiple Deprivation Index

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After last week’s challenge of visualising just 2 values, today’s data set included a whole lot more. Andy posted an image of a ‘barcode chart’ to improve upon.

My first challenge was to find the barcode chart on the original website to get a bit more context.

Essentially what the barcode chart shows is a list of cities and towns in Scotland in alphabetical order, followed by a vertical line for each ‘Intermediate Geography’ area or ‘data zone’ which includes ~350 households in that area. The vertical lines that make up the barcode are positioned along an x-axis according to their rank in the overall deprivation index.

The deprivation index combines multiple measures of poverty, employment, housing, income, education, etc. for an overall score.

barcode chart.png

What I liked about the barcode chart:

  • it contains a lot of detail in a relatively small chart
  • the density of vertical lines in the bar code help identify clusters and problem areas

What I didn’t like:

  • there was no interactivity so I couldn’t find out more about a data zone if I wanted to
  • the vertical lines are as high as the row of the respective city they belong to, this to me is unnecessary and I would prefer more white spaces to make it look less cluttered
  • if I wanted to find out more about a data zone, how could I? There is no search function


To improve the original visualisation I wanted to add colour as an element for showing the level of deprivation. I wanted to use the same dimensions and measures to keep the level of detail equal to the barcode chart.

But I wanted to introduce a search function which at least provides information about the data zone’s rank relative to the others. (I could add more metrics in the tool tips for more information, but in the interest of the 60 minute time frame for Makeover Monday and having spent most of that time on understanding the context, I didn’t 🙂 ).

I also wanted more white space in my visualisation for a less cluttered look.

So here is my result


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