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Newsweek's "The World's Best Countries" [newsweek.com] feature presents an interactive ranking of the globe's nations according to metrics from areas such as health, economy and the quality of life. Essentially, it consists of a series of linked plots, where individual countries can be selected and compared to each other. In addition, income, population or country groups can be highlighted in the plots.

Although, overall, the information density is a bit overwhelming, there are some nice details about the visualization that make it worth mentioning:

  • Interaction. The simple switch-on-switch-off paradigm makes it effortless to explore this large and interconnected data set.

  • Persistency. As you progress in selecting countries, the last, previously selected countries remains highlighted as a comparison point. This makes it very easy to compare countries with each other.

  • Trust. Data sources and methodology are explained in detail, something that is often missing from visualizations.

Overall, an easy and enjoyable way to dig through this rich data set - how does your country fare?
This post was written by Moritz Stefaner, a researcher and freelance practitioner on the crossroads of design and information visualization. Occasionally, he blogs at well-formed-data.net.

newsweek-countries-1.png newsweek-countries-2.png

I find it funny that Iceland isn't on that list since it usually scores rather high (top 10 to top 5) on almost every list there is; Education, long life, social progress, liberty and so forth.

Sat 18 Sep 2010 at 12:44 AM
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