Do the Rosling

Judit Bekker
Starschema Blog
Published in
3 min readFeb 27, 2020


Anyone who has learned Tableau online (via Udemy or any other similar platform) did the Hans Rosling chart as an exercise. So did I, and I felt it was time to do justice to that old visualization. Bear with my story on how I designed this dashboard, and you can see that early viz of mine at the end of the post.

Despite all the bad news we face in media’s coverage of our modern times, the world is getting better in so many ways. This visualization shows how life expectancy has risen all over the globe in the past five decades, while the fertility rate has declined. The causes of these trends are rooted in several factors, but one thing is for sure: we’re living longer than any generation before us.

Click here for the interactive version.

Final dashboard design in Tableau

I might not be the most technical Tableau specialist in the world, but my main drive is conveying straightforward messages in a clear and minimalist style. When I’m doing visualizations for fun, design is my №1 principle to follow. I usually combine Tableau with Adobe Illustrator to pre-design the background and add it back to the software as an image. This way I have better control over the look and feel of the dashboard and don’t have to load all the texts and images one by one.

Another reason I use Illustrator is that I fell in love with the Futura typeface after listening to a TED talk about its rise in popularity after being used on the Apollo 11 mission. In fact, if I had to choose only one font to use till the end of my life, I’d say Futura in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, Tableau only supports a couple of web safe options and Futura is not one of them.

Breaking up the steps of creating this visual

When I need inspiration or just have a couple of minutes to feed my eyes with quality content, I always end up on Pinterest. A couple of days ago, I saw Nadine Fauzia’s portfolio and in five seconds I knew that this would be the basis of my Rosling viz.

Nadine Fauzia’s portfolio

The next step was to draw my wire-frame, which I always do on paper. I know it looks trashy, but it literally takes 2 minutes and you have your skeleton for the whole project to start building the design.

Hand-drawn wire-frame

Then the only thing before jumping into Tableau was to put together the high fidelity background in Illustrator.

Background made in Illustrator

Since I promised to show the original version I made in 2017, here it is… but don’t forget to check out my Tableau Public profile to see the upgraded version in its full interactivity!

Made by me in 2017