MM CW 8 – Where do our Drugs and Medicine come from?

This week’s makeover is based on the following viz:


What I do not like about the viz:

  • The bubbles block the view. The map in the background is hardly visible and seems redundant.
  • The points do not correspond to the countries they represent on the map. E.g. The African countries are scattered somewhere in the ocean and it looks like South Africa is above Egypt and like they are neighboring countries which is clearly not the case.
  • The bubble sizes make comparisons difficult. Is the bubble size of Belgium really bigger than the bubble size of France? It is really hard to tell, even though the numbers state that Belgium exports $4 Billion more than France.
  • A lot of bubbles are the same size. There are a lot of countries displayed which do not seem to play a major part in the market of Drugs and Medicine. These countries clutter the visualization and do not add additional insights.
  • The color scale is hard to distinguish. The colors difference for the >10% and the 5%-10% bins are barely noticeable. The same goes for the color for the lowest 2 bins.

My Makeover

MM8Dash (2)

The key message I want to convey

  • The Drugs and Medicine exports are dominated by very few countries. 
  • 5 countries export more Drugs and Medicine than the rest of the world.

The design choices I made

  • I opted for a simple stacked bar chart. This does the trick to show exports volumes by countries in relative comparison to each other.
  • I split the countries into two groups. By grouping the countries, a second layer of comparison is enabled. Now the group of top 5 exporting countries and the rest of the world can be compared along the Y-axis. Visualizing these 2 groups next to each other amplifies the huge difference in market share by country.
  • I chose a discrete color scale for the top 5 countries and colored all other countries uniform. This puts an additional emphasis on the biggest exporting countries.
  •  I added a reference line. The reference line at the end of the top 5 groups makes it easier the compare the two groups. The white space which expands from the end of the bar chart till the reference line shows the additional export volume of the top 5 group.
  •  The two big bubbles right to the stacked balk charts give perspective. To get a feeling for the total amount exported by the 2 groups, I added the bubbles which display the total value of Drugs and Medicine export in Billion $. They are not size mapped.

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