Day 4 of dashboard week started once again with a presentation of the previous day’s work and a reveal of today’s dataset. I’ve come to enjoy these briefings; you can forget about the stress of yesterday and start fresh with new ideas.

New dataset, new me.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that we could use any combination of datasets from Gapminder. The only downside – no Alteryx. This wasn’t so bad, the data was squeaky clean and only required a simple pivot in most cases.

I had the advantage of knowing what I wanted to explore from the start; vaccine coverage. Showing significant drivers for the anti-vax movement alongside the decline in vaccinated children was the end goal.


Getting the data


For the % of vaccinated children by country and year, I ended up only using one sheet from one excel document. The harder part was ‘significant drivers for the antivax movement’. I figure there’d be oodles of articles out there on this so started compiling ‘events’. I lucked onto this gem of an article from PopSci which listed a timeline of events that likely catalysed widespread distrust in vaccines. It was only a matter of summarising these and assigning a year.


The Dashboard Part


I started with a simple line chart to show vaccination trends over time. I was aiming to highlight one country at a time with a parameter and leave the others grayed out in the background.



I added a reference line for the date that Andrew Wakefield published his infamous article linking the MMR vaccine to autism and parameterised this to update the year of my events. The events ended up looking like so:



Putting it all together


My aim was to have the user click on an event mark and update the reference line parameter on the line chart, which was simple. The tricky part was getting the two worksheets to line up so that they behaved as one visualisation. My dreams came true when it worked:





A link to the finished product is here.



  • Gapminder is awesome
  • It’s nice to achieve your dashboard goals
  • I’m a little worried about measles.


Grace Murphy
Author: Grace Murphy