Reviewing IUCN Red List Vizzes

October 2022 #ProjectDataViz Viz Review
Published by David Velleca on 2 November 2022

Reviewing This Month's Theme

For September, our theme was 'Changes to the IUCN Red List.' We challenged the community to create visualizations with a provided data set that dug into changes in the number of threatened species as assessed by the IUCN. Let's take a look at some of those vizzes!

Morag Munro

This month’s data set showed figures from IUCN’s red list over a period of twenty years. I wanted to use a chart that would show the movement over time but wanted something different from the line chart.

The radial stacked bar chart seemed like a good choice since I could show the four categories (critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and unthreatened) on each bar. Thanks to Data Embassy for their helpful tutorial on YouTube!

Once I had created the chart, it occurred to me that an image of planet Earth in the centre represents that the data covers the world and is not limited to any specific nation or continent.

I also included a Go to URL action in the bottom right corner of the viz to encourage people to read further about the important work of IUCN.

Simon Chung

For the October Project Data Viz challenge, I decided to present the data described by the IUCN as the 'Barometer of Life' as a 'Tree of Life' visual. The historical data which presents the trend for the species categories over the last 20 years was a challenging design prospective as I wanted to focus on the individual years for each species but also tie in the historical data and also present the relative magnitude of species. Hopefully I have included the right combination of views to communicate this.

Tableau objects give us so much flexibility in creating structured dashboards, but for this challenge I wanted to try a more freestyle approach and use a collage style of arranging various floating views. To recreate the tree visual, I used the species/year/endangered metric as foliage/bubbles and I used the endangered metrics again in steam chart format to create the tree trunk tree roots effect which was important as it presents the magnitude of metrics per species. I also arranged the species categories around the tree visual to show the specific year metrics.

Leveraging the added Tableau interactive features including year selection and object tooltips helps to boost the infographic and hopefully makes it equally informative and interesting viz.

Billy Flannery

Exploring the IUCN red list made for some interesting reading. I was unaware of the sheer number of species that are endangered and with more species being assessed each year, the list of endangered species is growing.

With this data I wanted to highlight the threatened species as part of a whole split out by each class. Given that there are 3 levels of 'at risk' (vulnerable, Endangered and critically endangered), I also wanted to make sure that this was highlighted to the reader. There was no getting away from the fact that the colour Red needed to play a part in this viz and so I decided that the level of threat could be indicated by the shade of red used. A donut chart lends itself well to this, but what to show in the middle? I decided an image of each class makes it easier for the reader to identify what a Mollusc or Invertebrate might be without having to scuttle away to Google.

The data set also included yearly numbers from 2002 to 2022 and I wanted to show the movement somehow in the viz. I decided creating a filter by year would take away from being able to visualise the movement year on year, so opted for a spark line showing the trend under each class instead.

David Velleca

This month's challenge was a way for me to leverage some chart types that I tend to stay away from, focus on interactivity and put out an infographic type data viz. I've made it pretty clear to just about anyone who will listen that I don't care for pie or donut charts. This is mostly due to the typical reasons you'll hear in any argument against these chart types, but also because they are so frequently misused. However, with only four different types of threats (critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and not threatened), the chart type actually works pretty decently here. Also to make the chart read like it has only two members, I combined the critically endangered, endangered and threatened into one dimension and floated placed that behind the main donut for layered look that subtotals the values for those three threat levels.

The rest of the charts in the viz are pretty straightforward - a default area chart showing the breakout of threatened species (vs total assessed species) over time, a bar chart that comes into view when the user clicks into a button to show the current breakdown and a text chart that provides some info on the threats and steps we can take to help conserve species. The buttons that users can use to switch between views are shape charts that drive parameter actions. I topped the whole thing off with a nice set of BANs, one of my favorites, paired with some spark lines.

Laying this viz out on the dashboard took a lot of Layering and floating. To get this to layout exactly how I liked, while limiting the number of worksheets, I floated several items:

  • The double donut effect was created with floating as described above
  • The lines between each of the different species classes are actually blank dashboard objects with a fill defined to create the lines
  • To get my area charts to line up with the donuts, I had to float them at different Y values and with different heights for the objects.
  • My floating container with worksheets that show/hide based on parameter actions is also floating, once again to make sure I could get the elements to appear right where I wanted.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the overall look and feel of the dashboard, but definitely open to feedback!


Stay tuned for more October vizzes, but thanks for checking out this post! Be sure to join us for November's Challenge!