data journalism, data visualization, Interactivity

FFunction: the ‘Left Behind’ team

FFunction, a data visualisation studio based in Montreal, elaborated this project about the girls’ education in Africa. It analyses the schools’ conditions and how a lack of quality education jeopardises their future.

Audrée Lapierre, Creative Director of FFunction, talks about the process and structure of this engaging storytelling.

Involving the audience in different scenarios

The team received a file with indicators and previous data analysis from the UNESCO.

Step 1: tie the information 

A journalist cleaned and reordered the data in order to have a cohesive narrative.

Step 2: sketch each screen

The indicators were completely different from each other and displaying the information in a unique page made nonsense. Therefore, the team split the indicators into several screens.

They also drew sketches for the navigation in order to ensure a narrative to support the main message.

Step 3: switching to the computer

They mainly used Adobe Illustrator for design and their own technological kit for development.

Any tips for beginners into data visualisation?

1. Start designing the overall experience before getting lost in the details

“A project like this is a communication vehicle, and while you could be absorbed in making the most creative data visualisation, in the end, you want people to grasp the message, and to understand what’s going on. So stay humble.”

2. Make sure that the interaction may work on other devices such as a tablet or mobile phone

“Your big fingers won’t be able to select those tiny little lines…”

3. Set up a good way to deal with copy edits from the client

This interactive is trilingual, so any changes to the copy meant duplicated efforts.

 Follow their work on Twitter and website.



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