The Visual Du Jour – It’s Still The Inequalities, Stupid

As I mentioned in my previous post, a less unequal society produces better social outcomes. Case on point, this infographic (click on the image for ginormous view):

For those of you familiar with the Spirit Level, this is an alternative to the series of scatterplots using the same data, and showing, of course, the same results. The US, with its higher inequalities level, also produces worse outcomes on a series of social measures, from health, to political participation, to murder rates.

It is a neat way to replace a dozen scatterplots (which are pretty dry graphs even though they convey information pretty well) with one colorful infographic. But, as Alberto taught us in The Functional Art, the sphere thing is not great because the proportions are not really well represented. However, in this case, I did not find that too disturbing because you tend to pay attention not so much to the size of the disc but to the linear positioning.

Another issue is the screen real estate. The infographic is large, so, you have to scroll up and down and you quickly lose sight of which disc is which country, except for the US, because it’s always the one on the far right, with the worst outcomes. You kinda have to constantly scroll up and down to retrieve the legend.

Finally, I would have picked a more contrasted color scheme. On some measure, Sweden and Germany kinda look alike. I understand that there is a gradient thing going on with the graphic, but still. And with the sources, I would have added URLs and links to click to go to the sources straight from the infographic.

2 thoughts on “The Visual Du Jour – It’s Still The Inequalities, Stupid

  1. I actually thought using the flags of these countries would’ve been a good substitute for the spheres. I kept forgetting which colour was which country. Except for the US of course. It never moved. Really interesting post. Although, as my partner pointed out, I wonder why other factors such as disease rates and suicide completions were not included. Any thoughts?

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