Visualize the Voices of the Vulnerable Challenge Winner
Last year, UN Global Pulse launched a large-scale mobile phone based survey to ask people from five countries in different regions of the world how they are dealing with the effects of the global economic crisis. Using the data generated by this survey, Visualizing.org and UN Global Pulse challenged you to visualize the voices of vulnerable populations in times of global crisis. We were thrilled by the more than twenty projects submitted to this challenge. It was a very strong set of projects that help answer these questions: How do people in different nations describe their quality of life? What types of changes do people make in order to cope with economic uncertainty? How do individuals perceive their future outlook?
Congratulations to Elena Paunova on winning the Visualize the Voices of the Vulnerable Challenge. She will be invited to the United Nations in New York for a high-level UN Global Pulse presentation to UN Member States, and will be awarded a $2000 prize, courtesy of GE.
Paunova's visualization begins with an overview of the five countries in the survey: Mexico, Uganda, Ukraine, India, and Iraq. By juxtaposing an average sentiment graph with the economic statistics for each country, intriguing questions start to surface. Why, for instance, do Ugandans report improvement at much higher rates than Ukrainians, despite having a lower literacy rate, higher poverty ratio, and lower life expectancy? Does Ukraine's higher unemployment rate answer the question?
Though the overall numbers are interesting, the fascinating core of the Mobile Survey lies in the individual human stories found in the actual responses of the participants. Paunova's visualization allows you to drill down two more levels: first to a grid of responses for each country ranked from positive to negative, then to read each text message in its entirety. Exploring at this level of detail intimately connects you to the triumphs and challenges of the anonymous respondents, conveying a sense of personal contact rarely found in data visualization.
A final "data summary" page draws out some words and phrases that appear frequently, though this automated sifting is relatively muted, encouraging the user to really explore the responses themselves. The jury found Paunova's project to exhibit a particularly elegant visual design, that encourages engaging with the material. Congratulations again, Elena!
The jury also selected a runner-up: Andy Kirk. His project (embedded below) impressed them with the depth and rigor of its statistical analysis. Kirk's piece is easy to grasp, and manages to convey a sophisticated explanation and detailed contextualizing information about the countries. For this honorable mention, he will receive a $500 prize, courtesy of GE.
Thanks again to all who entered the challenge, and to UN Global Pulse for collecting this important data. View all the entries.