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Rivers of Pollution

Rivers of Pollution is an interactive data visualization system that informs the viewer about the pollution of water systems around the world, where it started, and what we can do to help. 



Teams of 3-4 will design an interactive, "map-based" means to communicate comparative information. Projects will be a hypothetically commissioned, dynamic, informational graphic artifact. Projects will visually communicate a data-driven "story" that affords a given audience multiple opportunities to convert information into knowledge.


October 2019 (revisited 2021)


Myself + 2 Teammates


Rivers of Pollution is an interactive data visualization system that informs the viewer about pollution of water systems around the world, where it started, and what we can do to help. This system allows the viewer to investigate river systems in three areas of the world, and their respective pollution.

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Thousands have lived without love, not one without water."


-W.H. Auden

Unsafe water kills more people each year than war and all other forms of violence combined. Meanwhile, our drinkable water sources are finite: Less than 1 percent of the earth’s freshwater is actually accessible to us. Without action, the challenges will only increase by 2050, when global demand for freshwater is expected to be one-third greater than it is now.

Source: Natural Resources Defense Council

Around 2 billion people live in countries with high levels of water stress.

Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. Improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use.

Source: Medical News Today & the United Nations


How does Rivers of Pollution fit in?

Rivers of Pollution allows users to see the impact of river pollution globally. Users are able to interact with this data visualization system to see some of the most well know rivers, find out how pollution is affecting them, and what governmental action is in affect. 

Our goals:

  • Create an interactive and educational system

  • Inform users on river pollution around the world.

User Research

We conducted lots of research for this project, most notably contextual research and personas. This research let us better understand who we were designing for and what our users needs were.


Our personas allowed us to better understand the type of audience that might be viewing our system. While we wanted to design for a wide group of users, our personas helped us better understand, empathize, and then design. 

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Ideation & Sketching

After extensive research on river systems around the world, as well as who would be our target user group for this project, my group and I got started on sketching and ideating. There were many rounds of sketches as well as critique from each other, peers, and professors. We went back and forth between a mobile and web format for this project, but ultimately settled on web. 


As a group, we divided the work equally. Each of us worked on a different section, working under a consistent design style. Below I have included a screenshot of all of the artboards, as well as the artboards with all of the connections. There is also a video attached that shows an example of how the prototype is navigated.

To view the full prototype, please click this link: 

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Rivers of Pollution

Rivers of Pollution

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