During the COVID pandemic in Canada last year, the general public heard everyday about the number of people who died. But how old were they? Where did they live? I felt that we should publish a story to give the public a more precise idea of who died because of this coronavirus. I decided to create an interactive 3D dataviz in which each death is gravitating particle.
This project is one of our most-read for 2020. The visual approach had been very appealing to the readers, even if the topic is a very sad one. They also loved the fact that it works as well on desktops as on mobile phones. I think we published it at the right time too. We had thousands of deaths in Canada at the time, but no stories to explain who died in a simple visual way.
What was the hardest part of this project?
I had to learn how to use the ThreeJS library by myself. It’s mostly used for commercial purposes or video games. But I couldn’t find great examples for journalistic data visualization purposes! So I had to figure out many things by myself.
What can others learn from this project?
With this project, I think other reporters can learn how 3D dataviz could help to explain topics involving many numbers to the general public. 3D scenes have an extraordinary potential for immersive experiences. On top of it, it uses WebGL technology which makes the dataviz very efficient, even on mobile phones.