The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Power of Good Design in Visualizing Demographic Data

Nikola Sander , Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)

Data visualisations are becoming increasingly popular in demography. But creating good visualisations of demographic data is not only about knowing how to code in R, Python or HTML. It is also about knowing how to design a visualisation in a clean and engaging way. In this paper, I argue that good design is crucial for visualising demographic data effectively, and that there’s an increasing need for demographers to cultivate their design eye. By drawing on my own experience with designing the circular migration plot ( and the work of others in the demographic community, I illustrate how dense and complex datasets can be designed in a clean and engaging way to communicate demographic research effectively. I introduce a new open source Python-Application for creating circular migration plots, and discuss why design is not just a beautification tool.

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 Presented in Session 146. Flash Session: Data Visualizations, Open Source, and Other Tools of Applied Demography