Data Visualization

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning






The problem

With the launch of their ON TO 2050 strategic plan, CMAP wanted to publish their data online. Their graphs, designed for print and familiar only to economists and subject matter experts, needed to be updated for the web and a broader audience, in addition to being accessibility-compliant.

Why it's important

CMAP's entire ON TO 2050 strategic plan was built on insights from their "industry cluster bubble graph". This graph, which took the CMAP team over a year to develop, required multiple levels of annotation, various keys, and pixel-perfect placement of "bubbles" on a plane. While the style of graph was common for economists to read, CMAP wanted to tell their story in a more digestible—and interactive—way.

The solution

In 4 working days, I reimagined the graph for the web and layman, using "sparkline" graphics. These graphics provide users with over 18 pieces of data in a single line. Collectively, the sparklines illustrate employment trends in the Chicago Metropolitan area between 2001 and 2017. Additional graphic elements helped users understand the relationships industry clusters had to each other and basic text conveyed additional insights into the data like specialized/unspecialized labor forces.

The sparklines allowed for an interactive component, as well. Users are able to click on a "bubble" in a single industry and compare yearly employment statistics, a feature the original "bubble graph" was not able to offer. Throughout the process, I consulted on accessibility requirements.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning | Data Visualization
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning | Data Visualization Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning | Data Visualization
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning | Data Visualization

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