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Data analysis and visualization

This data visualization documents the most prominent websites that China blocks. View the interactive version here.

A conversation with a friend inspired this project: we were talking about websites blocked in China and general censorship (including Peppa Pig getting banned). We wondered if there was rhyme or reason.

Data cleansing, analysis, and visualization done with Tableau.

Answering questions with data

I learned how to use Tableau by messing around with Wikipedia’s list as the data source. After creating (and breaking) a few charts, I thought these questions would be interesting: What kind of websites are blocked? Are there patterns?

To answer the questions, I looked into how these variables were related:
  • What the banned website does
  • Which language(s) it’s in
  • How much traffic it gets, measured by Alexa ranking
  • Whether it was fully and/or currently blocked

I then cleaned the data with Tableau Prep. Some feedback I received was to combine similar/redundant categories to get to the main point faster without losing too much detail.

Designing a visual story

Initial ideas included highly guided visual essays and more exploratory designs where viewers can find patterns themselves.

I axed the Alexa ranking based on reactions when I shared the data viz. People were confused about what Alexa ranks meant, as opposed to something more straightforward like number of visits.

The final design

The published version is an open-ended chart where websites are clustered by function and language. Each site is a single data point, which a viewer can hover over to see more details.

View the interactive version here.