Mission Possible

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

At a glance

An eye-opening, interactive exploration of the fight to eradicate 10 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wanted to educate the audience on a subject that too many turn away from.

What’s an NTD?

So what exactly is a ‘Neglected Tropical Disease’?  This question was one of the visualization’s key editorial challenges – conveying what these diseases actually are, why they’re neglected, as well as the debilitating effect they have on people.

Graphic describing Elephantiasis

Counting the cost

NTDs don’t necessarily kill people. It’s a grim thought, but we needed to find another way to quantify their effect rather than, say, number of yearly deaths.

We used DALYs, or ‘Disability-Adjusted Life Years’, which are a measure of years lost to ill-health, disability or early death.

Every year, the world loses around 20 million years of healthy human life because of these 10 NTDs. Yet they’re easy to treat or prevent.

Data visualization about Neglected Topical Diseases

The clue’s in the name

NTDs are, as you can guess, ignored or little-known. To help people understand why, we included descriptions of the diseases right at the start.

We used these visual references as a key throughout the story. Users could tap or click these at any point for a reminder.

It’s a little unusual for us to use photography in our work. But this piece needed to hit home the devastating nature of the diseases. We gave people the option to reveal the images, rather than being confronted with them immediately.

Icons referring to Neglected Tropical Diseases

Screen story

From the compelling intro to the hopeful call-to-action, users move through a left-to-right narrative of interactive slides.

We carefully considered these transitions, ensuring the story felt fluid and connected, while always letting people control their journey through the story.

We added a progress bar to help people anchor themselves and see the size of the story at a glance.