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Why do this?

Thoughtful design and accessibility is critical to visualizing and publishing data. Grounding your work in your users and prioritizing accessibility will make your visuals more enjoyable for everyone.
During the City’s COVID Response, a team of analysts built over 40 public dashboards. Getting all the dashboards published in only a few months was a huge feat. However, user testing of the dashboards with residents uncovered serious gaps.
  • Residents complained of poorly sized dashboards when accessing via mobile phones.
  • Some of the visuals were so complicated, users felt overwhelmed or frustrated.
  • Most troubling, the dashboards were not accessible at all to residents who used a screen reader or a keyboard to navigate.
This is how someone using a screen reader experienced our dashboards.
All of this meant pain for our users, in an already incredibly painful and scary time for the City.
After much research and working with experts, we implemented changes that resulted in simpler, more accessible, and mobile friendly dashboards. Here is the same dashboard with the results of our changes.
There is more work to be done. Nonetheless, this guidance and our learnings have helped us come a long way. By sharing this guidance and template, we hope you are able to avoid our mistakes to make more clear and easy-to-use visuals.