© 2017 Jung Hee Lee
Professor Jodie Jenkinson
The general public
Microsoft Excel | Adobe Illustrator
This data visualization piece was done as part of the Data and Info Visualization course in the Biomedical Communications program. The project was a redesign of an original information design by Thomas Porostocky's Causes of Untimely Death. The data was provided by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Challenge: visually translating unorganized data into an easy-to-digest data visualization
Throughout the project, the main challenge was reducing the amount of time and effort for the audience to understand and digest the data. First, I organized the unorganized data by using Microsoft Excel. I remained the three original parent categories: (a) communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional disorders, (b) non-communicable diseases and (c) injuries. Each parent category contained subcategories of relevant diseases. Also, the data was re-organized by grouping any data points under 0.5% as "others."
The next question that I asked myself was "What were the parts that could be improved from the previous data visualization by Thomas Porostocky?" Followings were the design decisions that I made:
According to The Functional Art by Alberto Cairo, "If the goal of the graphic is to facilitate precise comparisons, a bar graph is always superior to a bubble chart," and the audience underestimates differences when forced to compare areas or volume. Thus, the data was redesigned as a radial bar graph.
In addition to using a bar graph to enhance comparisons, numerical values were also added to facilitate precise comparison.
The colour theme did not seem to match the main point of the data, “causes of untimely death.” Thus, I toned down the colours and used faded red, blue and yellow to make the data to be salient from a dark grey background. By applying different colour schemes, the visual atmosphere changed in a way that was more suitable for this topic.
The intended audience was the general public, so some of the medical terms were re-written in plain language by using “CDC Plain Language Thesaurus for Health Communications.”
Circulatory & cardiovascular diseases
Hypertensive heart disease
Brain & nervous system disorders
Heart & blood vessel diseases
Brain diseases of newborns and infants
High blood pressure
Disorders of newborns and infants
Next, multiple versions were created through an iterative design process.