Deforestation Dashboard

South America, in response to Initiative 20x20

Data-driven dashboard capturing the pressing concerns of deforestation in South America and its implications on economic loss and human factors. 

Team: Danny Choo, Emily Su, Gyuri Han
Design applications: Dashboard design, data visualization, information hierarchy and typography, color and animation
Duration: 4 weeks from March to April 2017

Project Overview

Our team’s task was to create a data-driven dashboard with animations to capture South America biodiversity data and compel policymakers to make decisions and create new policies to help support these factors. We went through multiple iterations of our dashboard to distill the complex factors that surrounded biodiversity in South America, and found that problems around deforestation was the most alarming, which we based our dashboard narrative on. Our solution captures the raw deforestation and carbon loss data, connect this with important implications for these countries, such as economic loss and affected human livelihoods, and provide actionable opportunities for policy makers with data to help them understand why creating policies immediately is so urgent.



Personas/Use Cases

Research and the Narrative

We conducted our research in the 3 main domain areas surround deforestation: deforestation factors, business impacts, and climate change impacts. We then tried to connect the dots by consolidating our research and all the relevant pieces of data that we had found into a compelling narrative. In order to so, we thought of the problem of deforestation from the conservation scientist's point of view and what needs to be achieved in order to convince the policy makers to take actionable measures.

Ideation and Synthesis

After conducting research and understanding factors surrounding biodiversity and deforestation in South America, we:

  • Looked at examples of dashboard elements, as well as overall dashboards to understand what would be aesthetic or readable,
    and the tradeoffs balancing the two

  • Individually sketched elements that included both common visualizations, such as line charts and bar graphs, and more visual explorations

  • Iterated through 3 versions of dashboards to explore color, dashboard layout, and individual components, as well as the narrative

Ideation Process

Synthesis & Modelling

Then we went back to narrow down our story into 3 segments: cause, result, and implications. We mapped our factors to this storyline, and prioritized them based on what would be most important to policy makers.

The most important realization was that there wasn’t a compelling story for the economic causes of deforestation. So we shifted our narrative to push the responsibility on policy makers to invest in managing land and in responsible practices like the Initiative 20x20
and restoring degraded lands.

Final Dashboard Design

Detail View

Drought Circle + Number of People Affected
The animation shows relationship between drought in South America and the number of people affected by the drought. It animates the real time impacts of a drought growing and the number of people affected by the drought.








Takeaways & Considerations

Throughout this 4 week process, we struggled to find a balance between our two personas and the many factors surrounding biodiversity for a viable solution. However, through modeling and iteration, we believe we distilled a small enough scope with a powerful narrative to deliver a dashboard representing deforestation in South America.

Had we had more time, we would have looked at how this dashboard may change day to day with the information, and how the country buy-ins for Initiative 20x20 would animate.

For more detailed process documentation, please follow this link