Growth Design Special Edition #001
Story Duration: 3 min
We often misjudge the magnitude of events that have happened recently.
This happens because it's easier for us to recall recent information.1
I've heard of the virus before, yet this last piece of information takes precedence on what I know.21Farnam Street, 3 Things Everyone Should Know About the Availability Heuristic (2019)
That map is scarrrryyyy...
Let's see if I can find more info on the actual spread.
We tend to favor and use information that confirms our previously existing beliefs. 1
Here, my thoughts are anchored with the News I just watched. So a quick look at this map confirms my fears while ignoring the facts... (which we'll get to soon!)21TED - Julia Galef, Why you think you're right -- even if you're wrong (2016)
Holy... This is crazy.
It feels like the game Plague Inc.
It looks so bad that my brain can't process it...
Using a symbol map to represent the proportion of infected people isn't ideal here.1
1) The relative scale trumps the perception of the spread.
2) It doesn't account for the growth of the disease. Europe is completely "infected" visually. It implies it can't get worse, when in fact, it could.1Datawrapper, 17 responsible live visualizations about the coronavirus (2019)
We have a stronger recall of the unpleasant over the positive.1
When data has a negative connotation, you should avoid showing cumulative cases in your dashboard.2 It can amplify/alter perceptions.1Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow (2019) 2Datawrapper, 17 responsible live visualizations about the coronavirus (2019)
Wait a minute...
There are 1.4 billion people in China...
That's barely 0.005%!
...also China has 2/3 of worldwide infected people.
So why does it look like there are 3X more people that are infected worldwide on the map?
...And I just realized that half of the people are cured!
I'm even more confused...
☝️This would be a more proportional map of the spread in China.
The map shows that all of China is infected...
but in reality only 81,000 people are?
Also... Is it just me or the color red...
feels a lot like a "death sentence"?
Remember that behind every data point, there's an actual person.
Make sure people feel respected by your choice of layout and colors.
In this case, most infected people will survive. It doesn't need to be "death red."11Amanda Makulec, Ten Considerations Before You Create Another Chart About COVID-19 (2019)
Something like this ☝️ would definitely be more respectful.
For example... Adding "We know of" could be more appropriate!
When you start digging, two things stand out:
1) 📊 Demographics: Age and health conditions are left out
2) 🧮 Error Margins: Numbers are never 100% accurate. What's the margin here?
This would give a more accurate picture for the viewers.
Now, one of the questions I like to ask when looking at a design is:
"What is this not saying?"
Watching the News sparked my curiosity to dig more about the subject.
The way the live map was displayed was too much to handle. I couldn't see past the alarming design.
Going back to the map, I quickly realized that the numbers and the visuals didn't match at all.
Finally, the "death red" trumps the overall perception.
Plus key information is missing.
Plus the dashboard completely ignored the "recovered" people.
Just click the image to do so:
You completed Growth.Design's Case Study SPECIAL EDITION #001: