Over the years I’ve worked with Hawaii’s Foreign-Trade Zone #9 (FTZ9), a division of DBEDT, on several projects including data visualizations, redesigning their homepage, and creating infographics showing FTZ9’s business impact.
In 2017 I completed work on the FTZ9 homepage redesign and data visualization project while working for NIC Hawaii. FTZ9 came to us wanting to update the look and feel and modernize their website homepage. They also wanted to explore the possibility of sharing with the public, FTZ9’s impact on imports and exports in Hawaii.
We agreed that a data visualization, something artistic and motion-based, would be a great way to show their trade impact by evoking emotional response. Working with their slogan, “Hawaii’s Hub of International Trade”, I envisioned something that placed the tiny, remote islands of Hawaii in the center of an expansive trade network with representative lines connecting the nodes. FTZ9 supplied me with the trade data, the value of imports and exports from Hawaii’s international trade partners and I got to work planning out how I would execute my vision.
How it was made
Google Earth proved to be an excellent tool for visualizing the vastness of the globe and I already knew how to use KML to plot points and draw lines. KML worked great symbolize the trade network and allow for the visualization to be updated with new data in the future relatively easily. I used color-coded lines (signifying imports and exports), and created an overlay with just the country borders. Then I created a video following the lines and “touring” the trade partner locations.
Here’s the GitHub repo for the FTZ9 Trade Data Visualization KML
With the data visualization video background in place and some complimentary content overlaying it, the homepage redesign had an impactful hero section which drew a lot of attention and provided the emotional impact FTZ9 was looking for.
As for the rest of the homepage redesign, my team and I analyzed site analytics, usage patterns, and conducted interviews with stakeholders. When rebuilding the page, we were able to surface the most requested information as well as eliminate content that was out of date. The end result is a webpage that tells a story, is data driven, easy to navigate, and will serve FTZ9’s users well.
Business Impact Infographic
In 2020 and again in 2022, FTZ9 asked me to create an infographic for them to show their business impact data. The goal was to clearly show and illustrate several key pieces of data that contribute to FTZ9’s impact on business in Hawaii. The target audience was foreign-trade zone administrators throughout the nation.
I delivered to them a couple versions of the infographic: A highly-accessible, tagged PDF document — made in InDesign and Adobe Acrobat — that made it possible for people with disabilities such as blindness to read it, and a printable version with proper bleed, registration marks, and accurate coloring.