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OECD Regional-at-a-Glance Interactive ReportOECD logo




The Web Site http://rag.oecd.org/interactiveedition/population/populationstory1.html introduces Storytelling through an example of an Interactive Reports produced by OECD in collaboration with NCVA.  Our research tries to consider how the integration between visualization and storytelling can make statistical findings more comprehensible and accessible to the general public. Traditional practices for geovisual analytics and knowledge visualization methods applied to official statistics have required tools for greater user participation and an improved user experience. The approach set out here allows the analyst (author) to communicate with interested readers through visual discoveries captured in stories with embedded snapshots and descriptive text. Selected indicators and visual representations can be published with their metadata, thus facilitating the comprehension of statistical information by non expert readers. At the same time, the Vislet technique applied to statistical visualization can help in developing immediate on-line publications (see also Vistels at Statistics Sweden http://www.scb.se/statistikatlasen/, which draw attention to recent trends in statistical data. This advanced storytelling technology could also become very useful for educational purposes.

The differences between countries are often not as great as the disparities within them as described by Jern, Thygesen and Brezzi 2009.  The interactive report OECD Regions at a Glance http://rag.oecd.org/ makes these differences across local regions apparent and unpacks what they imply for national performance and individual welfare. It does so by providing region-by-region indicators that help to identify areas that are outperforming or lagging behind in their country, as well as the OECD area. OECD in collaboration with NCVA have developed this interactive Web report presenting statistical indicators ranging from economic, social, demographic and environmental fields for more than 2000 local OECD regions from all over the world. The result represents an innovative solution from the statistical point of view, and offers a dynamic and interactive method for the visualization of spatio-temporal regional data, and the ability to link metatext to such a model.


OECD Regions-at-aGlance

Figure: Interactive Web report “OECD Regions-at-a-Glance” presenting statistical indicators ranging from economic, social, demographic and environmental fields for TL2 (363) and TL3 (1802) local OECD regions. 

The interactive report is based on interactive “vislets” embedded into the report instead of static images. This makes the diagrams interactive so that the user can change the indicators, and also view how the data changes over time using the animation facilities available.

The analysts at OECD created the snapshots with associate metadata for the Regions-at-a-Glance data dividing the report into different chapters and sections within the chapters. From these snapshots the appropriate visual representations were chosen and Vislets were created. Some of the Vislets only have one visualization component per chapter while others have multiple components and chapters with links embedded into the hypertext. These Vislets are then stored with the text for the chapter in an XML file that has been divided into sections.

The interactive document platform is based on php and xsl transformations.  When the webpage is accessed the platform loads all the XML files available and creates the interactive document with an index page as the start page. For each chapter the user visits they see the text regarding that chapter, the Vislet connected to the text, and also the hyperlinks in the text linking to other snapshots. JavaScript is also used to link to the previous and next chapter/section so that the user can navigate through the interactive report in the same way as a person turns the pages of a book.


For the interactive report, some extra features were added for each chapter. The user can download the data that is used in the visualization by clicking on the Download Data button and accessing the data in Excel format. The text from the printed hardcopy report is also available for each chapter so that the user can download and read the chapter as a pdf. To make it easier to share the Vislet a button Share has been added that displays the HTML code for the Vislet. The user may select a Vislet that is interesting and copy the HTML code to a webpage or blog and share it.

The main benefit of making the report interactive is that it enables the user to visualize the data that is of interest to them, and also to show the variation over time using animation. The analysts at OECD have chosen snapshots that are of interest, but the user can interact with the visualization and change the indicators and select what they find interesting, and thus enhance the user experience.


OECD Regions-at-aGlance

Figure: Distribution Plot showing" Life expectancy" placed along a distribution axis. You see that Switzerland has a region with 83.7% life expectancy. Each coloured circle representes the "% population 65+" in an OECD NUTS2 region (red means high life expectancy). We see a strong correlation between old peopla and high life expectancy. Open the interactive graph below and move the time animation slider and see the dramatic change in the last years.


Click on the link below and experience the interactiv picture:


A user can through the share button (see above picture) share a story and its discovery. Click on the Share and the corresponding HTML code for the actual story is provided - Copy-and-paste into a blog and Share. 


Page manager: mikael.jern@liu.se
Last updated: 2016-04-06