Our World in Data

Right from the start: I contributed very little to this great project. But since designers like to brag about working for clients anywhere from Nike to NASA, while the job was making someone a business card, you're goddamn right I am proudly including this in my portfolio.

Our World in Data is a long-term project of University of Oxford's researcher Max Roser. It is an evergrowing online publication that aims to provide honest and scientifically accurate report on how are living conditions changing globally. This is achieved by looking at wide range of topics ranging from health or food provision, through education, distribution of income or environmental changes, to statistics on violence or wars... Each topic is further broken down and tracked as far back into history as possible, carefully based on empirical data.

There are several important motivations behind this project. But what I find most important is that Our World in Data tries to counter the progressively accumulating sentiment that:
No, it does not. Granted, it can go to shit any day, but it does not in the long term. You can get pessimistic about the current state of the world as much as you want—and for variety of good reasons—but the long-term data simply tell a different story. Most of the measurable factors of human civilisation are actually getting better in the long run. This is extremely important fact to realise and further promote. Of course, it does not mean we should immediately fall for boundless optimism (which, in my view, is often unrecognizable from blissful ignorance). After all, it is the discontent with status quo that drives many humans to create better conditions for others or to become better themselves. But by accepting the empirical positive trend we can examine the factors which led to decrease of the “bad things” in our societies and do everything we can to maximize their effect.

I've been invited by Zdenek to help with the general UX of the project. I've revamped three main page templates, proposed several key enhancements to the layout and played around with visual direction. All while keeping three things in mind:

The layout has to be as clear as possible, so it does not get in the way of the stories and the empirical data.

Wide range of topics, subtopics and article segments make navigation the most critical part of the publication.

The publication has to be interesting to read and browse through not just to researchers and academics but to wide public too.
However, very little was implemented as I had to devote my time to another project and the full scope of proposed changes would require out-of-budget overhauls on front end at that time. But still, Our World in Data is exactly the kind of project I consider important and useful to work on.