Coronavirus Resource Center by Graphicacy

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Graphicacy worked with our partners at Johns Hopkins University to design and engineer a visualization to help make sense of the testing landscape. At the time, the White House had set certain benchmarks for States to “reopen”. This visualization aimed to bring those metrics all into one view, so the user can see the current situation on the ground for any U.S. State.

One of the persistent challenges of designing COVID-19 data visualizations is that a single metric only tells part of the story. To gain a better understanding on whether an outbreak is improving or worsening in a given state, the number of new cases should be looked at alongside how robust that state’s testing program is (tests performed per 1,000 people), and what percentage of those tests are positive. Due to the variability in states’ self-reported data, weekly trends and moving averages help to further clarify the current condition of an outbreak.

To aid in that type of overview, we designed a sortable, filterable table (image above) that displays all three metrics alongside each other, using small multiple charts displaying the most recent 14 days of data, as well as weekly trend icons that allow for a quicker, at-a-glance read. The overview table is data-rich and invites careful exploration. To help users understand each of the chart components, we designed an explainer graphic that gives instructions on how to read each chart, and explains any calculations being made under the hood.

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