Project description

A scrolling story where graphics have the lead.
Climate change is a hot topic in Dutch politics and social media. Current stories are mainly focussed on the rising temperatures world wide and future predictions. We wanted to show how climate change influences the Netherlands at this very moment. As editors of a qualitative news organisation we wanted to address this with a data driven story. The immense amount of data at the KNMI, the Dutch meteorological institute, are the basis of a visual story that explores the weather data from 1901 till now. A thorough analysis led to a series of graphics, subtly built in an animation that unfolds for the user by scrolling through the page.

What makes this project innovative?

This project combines the possibilities of D3 and responsive techniques to make a user experience on mobile that is smooth, clear, intuitive and informative. The (unfolding of) information gives the user an incentive to keep scrolling, reading and seeing.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

Impact on three days (Saturday 26th, Sunday 27th, Monday 28th of January): 34,000 pageviews, 47,600 minutes: 1:23 min. average view time; Twitter: 690 retweets/shares; Facebook: 665 likes/shares Overall metrics till 4/4/2019: 51,900 minutes, 37,700 page views; average view time: 1:23 min. Importance of responsive design: 60% of page views are on mobile. It was the best read story of NRC on Sunday 27th of January. NRC has 30 - 35 million page views per month, with almost 3 minutes average time on page

Source and methodology

Source of the data: KNMI, Dutch Meteorological Institute: We collected data from 1901 till today, escpecially around temperature and rainfall. We dug into the data and looked for trends and outliers. After we got our first conclusions, fit into different graphics, we discussed these with a climate scientist, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh. He gave some explanations to the data and helped us to strengthen our message.

Technologies Used

Python to filter data and calculate R to analyze and visualize (gg-plot) Excel to analyze D3 and JavaScript to visualize First we filtered and calculated data in Python. After that we analysed the data in R. Different trials led to an approach that could visually explain the trends in weather change. Simple visualisations (gg-plot) helped us to get grip on the data. After that we tried different visualisations (in R, Excel). We build a story round the graphics. The graphics are made with D3 (together with html/css), the scrolling story with scrollama, a JavaScript library. The advantage of this library is that the graphics are centered on the screen and the story unfolds while the reader/user scrolls down. A lot of effort is in the responsiveness of the design: we know that a lot of readers reach us on mobile (see “impact of the project”) so we wanted to have a smooth, visible and readible design on mobile. That was not easy, but the impact metrics tell us that it was a succesfull strategy.

Project members

Erik van Gameren, Wouter van Loon


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