A Closer Look At Changing Restrictions On Religion by Pew Research Center

For a decade, the Pew Research Center has rigorously tracked restrictions on religion around the world — both those imposed by governments, as well as hostilities committed by individuals and social groups. These acts include violence, terrorism, armed conflict and other efforts to stop a religious group from growing or operating.

Given the importance of this topic to billions of people, this year the Center created an interactive digital essay to surface that body of research and highlight key global trends. The essay is aimed at a broad audience and designed to engage readers by maximizing the visual experience, without sacrificing the topic’s complexity and nuance.

“A closer look at changing restrictions on religion” combines photography, written narrative, and cutting-edge data visualization to show how restrictions have evolved in the world’s 25 most populous countries. At the end of the essay, readers can explore 10 years of demographic, geographic and longitudinal data collected from nearly 200 countries.

Underpinning the design language of the essay is the simple square, or “sprite.” While scrolling through the narrative, 18,000 squares reassemble to depict different facets of the multivariate dataset, such as cartograms, scatterplots and small multiples. Advanced browser programming and WebGL drive the fluid permutations of each sprite.

We live in an era where audiences are bombarded with information, where competition for public attention has exploded, politically motivated mis- and disinformation is on the rise, and complex issues are oversimplified to accommodate the shrinking attention span of news consumers. At the same time, this era has seen unprecedented availability and access to data. Data visualization allows us to explore and make sense of the world in ways that weren’t possible even just a few decades ago.

Pew Research Center is a non-partisan, non-advocacy research organization that aims to provide public discourse with high-quality data and facts. As such, we continually explore ways to tell data-driven stories and package information in digestible, innovative and engaging formats.

The entrant has supplied multiple files for this work:

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