Africa Visa Openness

NGO, Design, UX, Data visualisation, Development

The Africa Visa Openness Index is a collaboration by the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Africa.

Africa is a region with one of the highest visa requirements, with African countries remaining closed off to each other. This makes travelling and trade within the continent difficult. By measuring how open African countries are when it comes to visas the aim is to use the data to better understand and track regional integration.

Now in it's 4th edition, the report has attracted high traction across Twitter, it's been referenced by over 60 news articles, including the Brookings Institution, ECOFIN, the Africa Report, Quartz and many other lnternational news agencies.

The Brief

Liquid Light were briefed with designing and building a website to work in conjunction with the Africa Visa Openness report. The website needed to allow users to visualise the data, as well as learn how it was made up and to keep abreast of any new developments.

Although initially the website is to be quite focused, it will eventually become a much larger project, with the aim of becoming a complete destination, adding in news, opinion and research.

The Challenge

Often a country is more open towards some countries than others. One of the key challenges was to create an interactive map that could show those relations. This needed to allow the user to view at a glance which countries are facilitating travel for citizens of other countries and how.

It’s always a pleasure working with the African Development Bank, but it’s often an interesting challenge coordinating multiple people in multiple countries.

Technically, interactive maps bring many challenges. This is especially true for maps that need to work across a variety of different devices and screen widths. We also needed it to interact with Google Docs so that  the data could be easily updated without needing our help.  Data synchronization between the map view and list of countries was handled using Vue JS, a javascript framework.

The Result

One of the most pleasing aspects of this project was that we were able to go beyond what was possible in the print publication. Providing an interactive map allows the user to look at the data in new ways that are relevant to their needs. This included a way of 'flipping' the data. In this instance it not only allowed people to see the most open countries to visit, but also how open other countires are to that country.

The website will be an important tool for policy makers, academics, project partners, civil society and the media, and wll be updated and added to over time.

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