Our 2019 human rights data are now available on a new data portal

Our 2019 human rights data are now live

We are delighted to say that all HRMI’s human rights data is now available at a brand-new data portal, here.

Our data teams have been working hard for the last several months to produce 2019 updates for all our metrics, and you can now explore all of it through the new portal.

You can explore the data by country, or by right, and you can see trends over time, comparisons between countries, and information on which people are at heightened risk of rights violations.

Why data viz?

At HRMI, our mission is not just to produce high quality data tracking the human rights performance of countries, but also to present those data in a way that is useful for human rights practitioners worldwide.

Most human rights organisations put a lot of effort into careful research and documentation of human rights abuses. The stories that they tell are very powerful. But they think their stories will be even more powerful when combined with high quality data to show, for example, that a particular case is not an isolated incident but part of a systematic pattern of abuse, or to show that their country is performing a lot worse than a neighbouring country that has made more effort to improve their laws and policies.

We want human rights practitioners to use our data in their day to day work to advocate successfully for changes that improve people’s lives.

That’s why we devote a lot of our energy, and a high proportion of our budget, to developing excellent data visualisation tools.

A complete revamp, incorporating your feedback

In 2017 we published our beta data portal, along with our beta dataset. It was a good start, and has had thousands of views from users all over the world, but our new data portal, which went live in June 2019, is soooo much better.

What makes it so much better? Your feedback!

We have asked for feedback from dozens of people: in one-on-one meetings, in structured user testing, in group discussions, at our co-design workshops, in email and Twitter conversations. A lot of consistent themes have come through along with lots of ideas for improvement.

Here are some of the new features you can look forward to exploring:

  • 3 rights categories: As well as the 12 rights we have scores for, we have also sorted them into just three categories of rights: Empowerment, Safety from the State, and Quality of Life. See below for more on these categories.
  • Country narratives: some people like graphs, and some prefer words. We are now giving you both: clear, crisp graphs that are easy to read, and narratives alongside them that explain what they mean.
  • Simpler charts: we have moved away from our radar charts in favour of much simpler bar charts, to make sure everyone can use them.
  • Larger fonts: Our new data viz is easier to read in lots of ways.
  • More information on people at risk: It is now easier to see which people are at particular risk of rights violations, and we’re now including more detail for each country.
  • Mobile accessibility

Please tell us what you think – we are always working to improve.

Here’s what it looks like

When you go to the country page for any country you’re interested in, you will first see something like this, with the three category scores.

Liberia's country scores, Human Rights Measurement Initiative, 2019

Then you can click a button to switch to seeing all 12 rights. The 12 scores are represented visually on the graph and also listed on the right-hand side.

Liberia's country scores, Human Rights Measurement Initiative, 2019

Below this first set of bars, you can scroll down for more information, and drill down into several layers of more detail.

What’s next?

While we are confident that you will like the new portal a lot more than the old one, we also expect it to keep being a work in progress.

Our current priority is to make the website multilingual. The portal will very shortly be available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as the current English.

One thing we know we will need to keep wrestling with is the tension between presenting our data simply while still portraying their complexity. It’s really hard to get this right. We are aiming for a tool that allows a casual visitor to the site to quickly get a high-level overview of how a country is performing, while also allowing a more engaged visitor to do a deeper dive and get a richer understanding of what lies beneath the high-level scores.

We hope that this will allow everyone to engage at the level that suits them best. When consulting with different groups of users we found that journalists, in particular, were the strongest advocates for a very simple presentation of the data. It was largely in response to feedback from journalists that we found a way to summarise a country’s performance over the 12 right to three category scores.

When you explore the portal, we hope you will find a wealth of information that will help you tell the stories that are important to you, and will help bring improvements in people’s lives.

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