The Leonard Cheshire Disability Data Portal

Not for profit, Design, UX, Data visualisation, Development

Highlighting the gaps in global disability data

The Challenge

As with any data sets from multiple sources we had to fully understand the limitations of what data comparisons could be accurately presented. In practical terms this meant understanding what we could show or compare without mis-representing the data and misleading visitors. 

We also wanted to take visitors on a journey and not present all the data in one go - by giving visitors complete control in the form of a data explorer, visitors would be able to make their own choices over what data they could see, and what comparisons they would like to make. This approach would not have given us the opportunity to present the data wrapped around any kind of narrative or ‘call to action’. Visitors would have been thrown in the deep end, rather than being given a broad overview with the option to dive deeper.

Low fidelity is best

We undertook a series of workshops where we explored different options the user journey could take using low fidelity wireframes and prototypes to quickly iterate through concepts. By using prototypes we could rapidly explore different options and react quickly to feedback, and give all stakeholders something tangible to test.

The build

Due to the nature of the content and audience, It was paramount the portal was fully accessible for various disability types. The portal and the visualisations within can all be accessed and navigated by keyboard, and colour combinations were checked to ensure legibility for those with visual impairments. Both Leonard Cheshire and DFID were involved in facilitating rounds of user testing, the results of which were fed back into our development sprints.

Technical challenges

The portal was designed to be easily updated, as when new data sets become available Leonard Cheshire wanted to be able to quickly add this new data to the portal through the CMS.

The nature of the data was very hierarchical. From a data perspective the three levels of information were: country, indicator and disaggregate. There are multiple countries, each country has multiple indicators, and each indicator contains multiple dis-aggregates. We used a simple CSV (spreadsheet) format with one CSV for each of these levels, to make it easy to update only the data needed. As the data is imported on upload, these hierarchical relationships are re-created and then cached in the website to make page requests to view the data as efficient as possible.

The result

Working to a tight deadline, the portal was successfully launched in time for the Global Disability Summit. Performance and accessibility are important to us, and particularly for this project. We scored a maximum of 100 for accessibility, SEO and ‘best practises’ according to Google's Lighthouse developer tool. The portal also scores 99 on Google's page speed insights.