Composite indicators (CIs) are common measurements and benchmarking tools used to measure multidimensional concepts such as well-being, education and more. Indicators and sub-indicators are selected and combined to reflect a measured phenomenon. Measurement iterations produce a series of time-oriented data, which stakeholders, as well as the general public, might be interested in interpreting. Visualization of a CI is highly recommended, in order to facilitate interpretation and enhance understanding of indicator components and their evolution over time. In recent years, a variety of CI visualizations have been published including various visualization techniques. Indeed, visualizing a CI is a complex and challenging issue, involving many design choices. However, there is a lack of guidelines and methodological approaches for CI visualization design. We suggest a framework that provides a systematic way of thinking of CI visualizations. The framework is intended for two uses: as a design tool when constructing a new CI visualization, and as an analytic tool for systematically describing, comparing and evaluating CI visualizations. The suggested framework is the outcome of both a top-down process, based on CI construction and information visualization literature, and a bottom-up process, in which 35 existing visualization applications of popular CIs were analyzed. We use Munzner’s visualization analysis and design framework (Munzner in Visualization analysis and design, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2014) in an adaptive way, considering the specific challenges and characteristics of CI visualizations, in order to develop and discuss a systematic view of the data, tasks and methods for visualizing CIs. We demonstrate the use of the framework with a case study analyzing the popular OECD Better Life Index visualization tool.
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This research was done as part of the National Israel ICT project by The Center of Internet Research (http://infosoc.haifa.ac.il) supported by the Israel Internet Association-ISOC-IK; the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and The Israel Science Foundation (1716/12); and the Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Studies.
Appendix 1: List of Analyzed CIs Visualization, Retrieved on 7/2015–3/2016
|1||Better Life Index||9||General||OECD|
|2||The Good Country Index||3||General||Developed and funded by Simon Anholt|
|3||Global Competitiveness Report||2||Economy||World Economic Forum|
|4||Index of Economic Freedom||5||Economy||The Heritage Foundation|
|5||Bloomberg Innovation Index||1||Economy||Bloomberg company|
|6||PISA-Program for Int. Student Assess||4||Education||OECD|
|7||EPI—Environmental Performance Index||6||Environment||The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy|
|8||Sustainable Society Index (SSI)||5||Environment||the Sustainable Society Foundation|
|9||Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI)||2||Environment||The South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and their partners|
|10||Euro health consumer index (EHCI)||3||Health||Health Consumer Powerhouse|
|11||Global Hunger Index (GHI)||3||Health||The International Food Policy Research Institute|
|12||Global Corruption Barometer and Corruption Perceptions Index||2||Politics||Transparency International|
|13||Worldwide Press Freedom Index||3||Politics||Reporters Without Borders|
|14||Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI)||5||Politics||The World Bank Group|
|15||Global Militarization Index||2||Politics||Bonn International Center for Conversion|
|16||World Justice Project Rule of Law Index||4||Politics||The World Justice Project (WJP)|
|17||The Global Peace Index||3||Politics||The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)|
|18||Human Development Index||10||Society||United Nations Development Programme|
|19||Quality of Life Index||5||Society||Numbeo|
|20||SIGI-social inst. and gender index||2||Society||OECD|
|21||Save the Children||1||Society||Save the Children International|
|22||Global Slavery Index||4||Society||the Walk Free Foundation|
|23||KOF Globalization Index||3||Society||KOF, ETH Zürich|
|24||Global Gender Gap Report||4||Society||World Economic Forum|
|25||Legatum Prosperity Index||12||Society||Legatum Institute|
|26||Social Progress Index||7||Society||The Social Progress Imperative|
|27||World Giving Index||4||Society||Charities Aid Foundation|
|28||World Happiness Report||3||Society||the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network|
|29||IDI- ICT Development Index||5||Technology||The United Nations International Telecommunication Union|
|30||UN e-Government||6||Technology||United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)|
|31||The Web Index||8||Technology||the World Wide Web Foundation|
|32||the global innovation index||5||Technology||Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization|
|33||Networked Readiness Index-NRI||16||Technology||World Economic Forum|
|34||Academic Ranking of World Universities||3||Education||Shanghai Ranking Consultancy|
|35||QS University rankings||4||Education||QS Quacquarelli Symonds|
Appendix 2: CI Visualization Framework Components—A Short Description
|What||3.1||CI Data types|
|Items||3.1.1||The measured organizations (e.g. cities, countries, universities etc.)|
|Indices||3.1.2||The different measurements that reflect the multidimensional phenomena|
|Values||3.1.3||Item’s performance in a measurement, expressed by ranks, scores, or raw data.|
|Time||3.1.4||Performance evaluation timing, usually at regular intervals (e.g. once a year)|
|Why||3.2||CI domain questions. The goals of the CI visualization use|
|High-level tasks||3.2.1||High-level goals for interacting with a CI visualization tool|
|Consume||220.127.116.11||Consuming existing CI information tasks: Present, Discover and Enjoy|
|Produce||18.104.22.168||Using a CI visualization to generate new material: Derive and Record|
|Low-level tasks||3.2.2||Low-level tasks described by items, indices and time|
|Items||22.214.171.124||Sub-tasks distinguished by the number of items in focus: Ranking, Overview, Profile, Compare and Correlate|
|Indices||126.96.36.199||Single vs. multiple indices in focus of relevant sub-tasks|
|Time||188.8.131.52||Existence of tasks’ focus in trend, i.e. change in values over time|
|How||3.3||Design choices for constructing a CI visualization|
|Encode||3.3.1||Visual mapping and visualization methods for CI data types|
|Mapping||184.108.40.206||Matching of CI data to appropriate marks and visual channels|
|Methods||220.127.116.11||Visualization techniques suitable for CIs|
|Manipulate||3.3.2||User interactions that change the view over time: Filter, Select, Navigate, Sort and Self-Encode|
|Facet||3.3.3||Splitting the display into multiple static CI views|
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Albo, Y., Lanir, J. & Rafaeli, S. A Conceptual Framework for Visualizing Composite Indicators. Soc Indic Res 141, 1–30 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-017-1804-0
- Composite indicator