May 112012
 

The Guardian has created an incredible visualization of the status of gay rights in the United States, breaking it down state-by-state according to schools, housing, employment, marriage and other issues. There’s also a good account by Feilding Cage, the designer, on developing the infographic which was done utilizing Raphael javascript library and – as he put it – a lot of patience for getting it right with Internet Explorer (always an issue). But back to to the real issue here, Cage says:

When the idea of doing a gay marriage interactive was mentioned I had two initial thoughts. First, I didn’t want to use a map given that a quick Google search would find any number of news sites with just that. Second, I didn’t want to focus solely on gay marriage. The political dialogue seems to define the quality of life for gays and lesbians based on their right to marry, but it’s much more complicated than that. 

The polarization of the country is starkly visible in the image but he has taken a simplistic political discussion and placed it in the context of a much broader – and important – range of issues. This is what an infographic should be – not just the visualization of data you may already be familiar with, but an interactive graphic that lets you see the issues from different perspectives, and lets you pull-out, highlight, the data you want to explore.

Since this infographic really is interactive, you need to see it on the Guardian site – the reproduced image below simply does not do it justice. Not only can you view the data by individual State, you can also reorganize the graphic by the size of the population in each State.
Gay Rights Infographic Guardian

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