TASK
Develop an interactive visual essay exploring who's represented on today's currencies around the world.
CLIENT
The Pudding, an award-winning digital publication focused on data journalism and interactive visual essays about pop culture.​​​​​​​
BACKGROUND
While there are several (mostly outdated) databases where one can find information about the people on world banknotes, there was no up-to-date comprehensive source of information about this matter.
ROLE
Content Designer
(data collection and analysis, writing, user interaction, visual design, prototyping and testing, social media graphics)
TIMEFRAME
September 2021-April 2022
TEAM
Co-author, web developer, managing editor​​​​​​​
TOOLS
Figma, Adobe Photoshop, Visual Code Studio
Click here to see the live product on The Pudding website
Initial Design Ideas
After performing data collection and analysis, we brainstormed visual and interactive ways to present our findings to readers. The document below outlines the section breakdown and graph styles we thought would be appropriate to showcase our findings.
Personas
We worked based on the assumption that the prospective users were young adults interested in data journalism since that is the profile of The Pudding readers.
Competitive Analysis
Vox Media
• Targets the same audience 
• Showcases the gender breakdown of banknote characters and their professions through static charts
National Geographic
• Discusses the cultural and historical significance of people on banknotes around the world
• Relies on text and banknote images to tell the story without using data to make an analysis
• Uses banknote portraits as main visual element
Visual Identity
Our visual essay had an educational purpose so with that in mind, we opted for fonts and colors that make the site look academic without looking boring. We also decided to apply a black-and-white filter to all portraits to standardize them since some of them were in color and others weren't.
Prototyping
After defining the main product components and visual identity, I created high-fidelity prototypes for desktop and mobile on Figma.
User Testing
Throughout the development process, we had several rounds of user testing to receive feedback. Here are some examples of functionalities we thought of implementing but ended up removing thanks to user testing.

We considered adding a sidebar character that would "guide" the user throughout the reading, with bubble texts indicating instructions on how to interact with the graphs and extra information that wasn't in the body paragraphs. However, the feedback we got was that the character was taking away valuable virtual real estate that could be used to enlarge the graphs.
Instead, we decided to add the interaction instructions below each graph title.
We also thought of having a dropdown menu where users could choose a country and then the banknotes of that country would display right below the paragraph. However, after interviews with users, they considered that the dropdown in the middle of the paragraph was distracting and broke the flow of the story. Therefore, this feature was removed from the final version of the visual essay.
The user testing feedback also told us that we should have a specific color for men and women that would remain the same throughout the various graphics. In that way, the user could easily know how many men and women were represented in the different graphs by just looking at them.
Final Product
After several months of work and multiple iterations of the product, we launched it on April 2022.  The article received favorable responses from readers and was featured on multiple email newsletters and websites including Morning BrewChartr and 1440 Daily Digest.
Social Media
I was also in charge of creating social media graphics to promote the visual essay on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I created a slideshow summarizing the research findings so that readers would learn valuable information but also want to read the full article.
Back to Top