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U.S. COVID-19 State Government Public Dashboards: An Expert ReviewFunding None.
Background In the United States, all 50 state governments deployed publicly viewable dashboards regarding the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to track and respond to the pandemic. States dashboards, however, reflect idiosyncratic design practices based on their content, function, and visual design and platform. There has been little guidance for what state dashboards should look like or contain, leading to significant variation.
Objectives The primary objective of our study was to catalog how information, system function, and user interface were deployed across the COVID-19 state dashboards. Our secondary objective was to group and characterize the dashboards based on the information we collected using clustering analysis.
Methods For preliminary data collection, we developed a framework to first analyze two dashboards as a group and reach agreement on coding. We subsequently doubled coded the remaining 48 dashboards using the framework and reviewed the coding to reach total consensus.
Results All state dashboards included maps and graphs, most frequently line charts, bar charts, and histograms. The most represented metrics were total deaths, total cases, new cases, laboratory tests, and hospitalization. Decisions on how metrics were aggregated and stratified greatly varied across dashboards. Overall, the dashboards were very interactive with 96% having at least some functionality including tooltips, zooming, or exporting capabilities. For visual design and platform, we noted that the software was dominated by a few major organizations. Our cluster analysis yielded a six-cluster solution, and each cluster provided additional insights about how groups of states engaged in specific practices in dashboard design.
Conclusion Our study indicates that states engaged in dashboard practices that generally aligned with many of the goals set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Essential Public Health Services. We highlight areas where states fall short of these expectations and provide specific design recommendations to address these gaps.
Keywordsdata visualization - coronavirus infections - pandemics - geographic information systems - access to information
Protection of Human and Animal Subjects
Our study is exempted from Institutional review board.
Received: 12 August 2020
Accepted: 11 January 2021
Article published online:
14 April 2021
© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.
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