Six Months On

The Refugee Rights Data Project gathers and reports solid data on the refugee situation in hotspots like Calais and Chios. After attending the launch of a report from Calais, I wanted to see if I could make the data more engaging. I went ahead with this for the follow-up report: Six Months On


The aim was to humanise the data in a somewhat novel way, mapping responses into visible feature of the figures (like gender and age) and having them dynamically regroup in response to survey questions.

Early on, I realised that the numbers of respondents in a good range to represent as individual figures. With more than a few hundred respondents figures would likely have been perceived more as data points and it would have been harder to represent extra attributes.

Using this representation had many advantages. It matched the aesthetic of the static report. It conveyed a lot of information implicitly and intuitively about the distribution of age and gender. Was there a disproportionate number of young Afghans? Were women experiencing less violence that men?

To make that effective required ordering within the response groupings.

Cutting room

A couple of questions were about how long the respondents had been in Calais and in Europe. I'd prototyped using this to animate the arrival of the people counting up month-by-month. Although it was visually appealing, I felt that gave a strong unjustified impression. Since people that had moved on weren't shown, the number of people always had to increase up to the present. This may or may not the actual situation.

Future work

This is in active development. In particular, I'd like to:

  • Order the response grouping by frequency.
  • Define a palette for response values for more questions. For example, minors are coloured red to highlight risk rather than black for adults.
  • Focus on individuals. Zooming in on a figure to show the full set of their responses.
  • Photographs were used to good effect in the paper report. I'd like to incorporate them too.
  • Flags were sourced from here