Population Explorer

We designed and developed interactive visualisations for Population Matters, to tell the story of adverse effects of overpopulation on the planet.

21st June 2022

Population Matters asked us to help them increase their engagement with younger audiences. From past research they knew that this was a demographic where they could improve their reach. They wanted us to design and develop an interactive tool using their data which met the needs and expectations of the new user audience segment.

We started off with some discovery work to help clarify the goals and scope of the project. This was a three fold research process (i) how this tool fits into their wider organisational objectives (ii) identify what their audience needs and (iii) write a new problem statement. This process helped us focus on building a product that is viable for their organisation, desirable to their users, and feasible with the appropriate technology.

With this under our belts, we went about storyboarding the user journey and visualising their data on human population, climate change and biodiversity loss. Storyboards are a great way to get everyone on the same page. They help us to bring the collective vision for the project to life. They also make it easy for the client and developers to feedback on the design early on.

Simultaneously we created a mood board to convey the visual style, colours, approved images, patterns, fonts, etc. After multiple iterations of the storyboard we put together a high-fidelity prototype applying a custom design system. The prototype helped gather feedback and initiate discussions about how the user will experience our tool.

We then moved on to building out the final product, turning the prototype into interactive visualisations in the browser. A particular challenge in this project was finding reliable data sets that we could use to tell the story and we ended up having to rethink a couple of slides where we could not find appropriate data. Similarly, some interactions that we thought would work well on the storyboard, didn’t quite work when we brought them to life.

Solving these problems was a team effort. We arranged multiple reviews and feedback sessions with Alistair and Olivia at Population Matters to get feedback and experiment with alternative approaches.

It was a long journey from the first discovery sessions, through multiple iterations until the Explorer was finally ready to go public on Earth Day (22 April’22).

Go to the Population Explorer to check out population growth around the world, their impact on biodiversity, climate change, and natural resources, as well as the actions we must take to build a better future. We are excited to have you check it out and look forward to hearing your thoughts!