A dashboard from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty has received a lot of views since it was published earlier this week and for good reason: There’s a lot of important information packed into a compelling story.
There’s a lot I like about the dashboard but two things that I believe desperately need to be corrected.
Before going any further you can see the dashboard here.
What I Like and Don’t Like
Here’s a re-sized snapshot of the dashboard.
What I Like:
- Hovering over a country provides more information about the country.
- Syria and Iraq are labelled so I can find the focus of the story quickly.
- The author has presented normalized data in the bottom chart to show proportion of fighters from a particular country. This is brilliant and important.
What I Do Not Like:
- There are two different axes at the bottom of each bar chart with very different values. If I don’t look at the axes I would think that Belgium has the same number of fighters per million as Tunisia. This defeats the brilliance of presenting the data in a normalized form.
- The fighter icon takes away from the gravity of the story as this should not be a frivolous visualization. The visualization should skew more towards The Economist and less towards USA Today (see this post.)
- The bars are in alphabetical order.
Here’s what I’ve changed.
- Clicking a country name in one of the visualizations will highlight that country in the other visualization making it easy to find.
- The axes for the two sets of bar charts at the bottom are consistent.
- I’ve replaced the fighter icons with labeled bars.
- You can switch between displaying normalized data (fighters per million) and the number of fighters.
- The bars are color coded to reflect the same color legend in the top chart.
Click here or the image below to access the interactive dashboard.