Freedom House

Highlighting threats to democracy through data analysis, powerful visualizations, and impactful storytelling

Freedom House is a nonprofit founded on the core conviction that freedom flourishes in democratic nations where governments are accountable to their people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, and belief, as well as respect for the rights of women, minorities, and historically marginalized groups, are guaranteed.

Challenge

Freedom House’s research team compiles data that has the potential to shine a spotlight on nations with eroding democracies and protect freedom, but their aging website lacked the capacity and flexibility to leverage that data to tell the powerful stories needed to make change.

Solutions

An interactive map that condensed a vast archive of global information into an easily navigable place.

Results

A website that facilitates the powerful narrative about freedom in the world that’s used by policy makers, the media, and activists.

Macro-scale information in a micro-scale place

The initial task was to organize Freedom House’s vast archive of content into a concise, easy-to-navigate information architecture, categorizing all of their content by issue, country, and policy. Given Freedom House’s global focus, we created a unified map-based interactive visualization that combined key data attributes across reports, decades, topics, and trends. The map tells an immediate, powerful story about the state of democratic, digital, and press freedoms in every nation, and is a wayfinding tool to learn more from the source material.

Freedom map viewed on a desktop.
countries and territories page viewed on a laptop
united states freedom score viewed on a tablet.

Longform reports made easy

Freedom House has source material that is often in the form of longform reports, so we prioritized balancing the need between flexible structures and easy-to-use administrative tools enabling the editorial team to create compelling long form reports. Due to the complex editorial workflows, we needed a way to import the reports into the CMS from the team’s collaboration tools. We created an innovative importer that first imports the reports into a Google Doc, and then into the CMS —including all needed headings, visual assets, and block styles.

Freedom on the net page viewed on a phones.
freedom house homepage viewed on a laptop and technology page viewed on phone.

A narrative for all of us

The new freedomhouse.org combines a set of distinct annual reports into a powerful narrative about the state of freedom in the world. It informs policy makers and the media— all while driving users to take action. The research teams have the tools to publish compelling reports which, taken together, tell the story of what happens when freedoms erode, helping to hold governments to account.

“With our new site, we are able to leverage our vast library of content and resources to more accurately convey our findings, insights and policy recommendations. Rather than a jumbled collection of discreet resources, our new website reveals a more coherent picture about the decline of freedom around the world and the state of global democracy. Nowhere is that more evident than on our new interactive map that seamlessly highlights different research indicators that tell the story of freedom around the world.”

~ Ana Cosma, Digital Communications Manager

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