Makeover Monday week 8, 2017: where does your medicine come from?

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For this week’s Makeover Monday we’re looking at export statistics of pharmaceuticals by country.
Germany is featuring very prominently again after last week’s Winter Olympics data. Not intentional but I needed to shift some datasets around to make some room for a special collaboration in week 10…

Let’s have a look at the original visualization which comes from the website How much?


What works well:

  • The deep purple color of the circles draws my attention to the viz
  • The underlying map provides some context
  • Big numbers and country names give the audience detail that can be consumed quickly
  • The small clusters of bubbles for South America, Africa and Oceania help put things in perspective


What could be improved:

  • Packed bubbles make it very difficult to compare the sizes of different countries
  • The circles dominate everything. The data and information definitely needs more white space around it to let it breathe
  • The bubbles don’t actually reflect the geographical position of each country
  • Region averages shouldn’t be used as each region has a different number of countries contributing to the overall export statistics


What I did:

  • Being short on time this week meant I needed to create a quick and easy viz that would still show something interesting
  • Germany dominating the world’s pharmaceutical exports is interesting enough for me, so a quick line chart showing each country between 2013 and 2016 with only Germany being highlighted in color has to do the trick
  • I also wanted to show the dominance by naming the remaining countries ‘everyone else’ and placing that label in the large gap between Germany and the nearest country Switzerland. The ASCII arrow was just the icing on the cake…


week 8

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