Makeover Monday week 9, 2018: Economic Freedom in the World

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For week 9 we’re analysing data looking at a number of different economic indicators which in combination make up the summary index of economic freedom.

The original visualisation is a map that doesn’t tell us much at all and there are also additional charts we can look at on the website of the Fraser Institute which are not well designed bar and line graphs, so a makeover is definitely in order



What works well:

  • Maps always get people’s attention fairly quickly
  • color legend is displayed prominently so the audience can quickly understand the shading of different countries
  • the animation is a good way to show change over time
  • the addition of the ranking table on the left-hand side is helpful for displaying some actual values, especially because the map itself doesn’t clearly differentiate how the individual countries within each category compare to one another
  • The tooltips are good


What could be improved:

  • The colors are a poor choice. They are not suitable for people with red-green blindness and they also don’t work well together as the hues chosen are bright and ‘loud’. A color gradient would work much better with the animation, showing changes based on the index value instead of categorising the values
  • There is no explanation how countries are assigned to the different buckets
  • even on my 27″ screen I can’t see the entire map at once
  • where is the ‘so what?’


What I did:

  • Initially I built a slope chart and I noticed Venezuela stick out for its massive decline since 2000.
  • I investigated further and found heartbreaking news reports and investigative stories about hunger and despair in Venezuela and the massive crisis that is leaving families and their children sick, starving and dying.
  • I wanted to put the ‘economic freedom index’ into perspective because it seems like such a cold and heartless instrument with which to measure something that has such a human side to it.
  • I created the below dashboard. Unfortunately the URL actions to display the website embedded at the heart of the dashboard don’t work because the New York Times have blocked embedding for their articles (because they want people to pay…), so you’re only getting a static image with a link below it to the New York Time story which I implore you to read…


Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 9.58.15 pm.png

Link to the story

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