The Evolution of COVID-19

The Evolution of COVID-19 is a web-based interactive timeline that visualizes the development of Covid-19 pandemic from its start in December. The project is created in hopes to present this crisis as a historical event and provide verified, accessible, and customizable information for general public, allowing them to connect dots and find patterns that are otherwise unable to be recognized in a flood of information.

You can check out the working prototype here

Huiyi Chen
Rui An
Viola He
Emily Lin
Qice Sun

UI/UX Design
UI Development

March 2020 - Present


Hover on orange dots to see an overview of each news event.

Switch between overview, detail view, and day view.

Click an event to see its detailed descriptions. Each event includes editorial notes, links to primary sources and links to different news coverage on the same event

Filter the information showing up in the timeline by location or event type 

View only topic of your interests by browsing the curated collections


At the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown in NYC, I was constantly depressed and angered by government actions, unequal access to medical resource, polarized news reports, more people losing jobs, more people dying ... As I tried to investigate and understand how we got where we were, I found myself drowning in a flood of information and didn’t know where to start. With an attempt to address the above issue, I started this project in a 3-day virtual Hackathon I helped organize in late March with a team of three. I led the concept, UI and UX design in the team. After presenting a prototype of the project after the hackathon, we had another developer and designer joining our team.

We are currently working on the development of the website, making design iterations based on feedbacks, and conducting ongoing data collection.


Identify Target Users

Starting with an attempt to ducument the history and communicate it in an engaging way, we weren’t sure who we want the website to benefit. After talking to a few people including sociology researchers, journalists, artists, educators and our retired parents, we narrowed down our target users to general public who has an interests in learning more about the current events, and artists, writers or other cultural researchers who wants to conduct research on Covid-related subjects. 

People we talked to can be summarized into the following three personas:

Journalists & researchers:
this would be a great resource of interests, but they wouldn’t use something like this for professional purpose, since they often have access to very compresenve database and they have standarlized pipeline and methodology to conduct their research and investigation. 

they don’t have profesional training in journalism or access to research tools, but they want to understand more about the development of the pandemic, or a particular aspects of the pandemic for the purpose of their own creative projects.

General public:
my mom, who just wanted an easy way to get informed about verified news about Covid-19 that are not biased 


After conducting interviews and narrowing down our target users, I had several brainstorm sessions with my teammates and identified the key problems we wanted to address in our website: Information overload: People would love to learn about “what Trump has done since the start of the pandemic”, “what WHO has done”, “how the first virus got into U.S”, but with a lot of events happening every day regarding the pandemic and overwhelming amount of news source online, they don’t know where to start.   News bias: All news have certain political bias and it is difficult for people to have a common ground even we are all in this pandemic together. An example would be some one’s parents watch fox news while he read New York Times; his other relatives in China read Chinese news --within which also embody different political stands.

Misinformation: There is always misinformation circulating on social medias and it is tiring for individuals to fact-check every piece of information. 


To Mitigate Information Overload

  • Allow users to browse the timeline contents in various levels of resolution, possibly ressembling the design of a calendar
  • Provide search function to quickly find contents of interests
  • Provide filter funtion to only view certain type of news (e.g. WHO related)
  • Visual hierachy to address the hierachy of information

To Mitigate News Bias & Misinformation

We acknowledge that we can not exempt from inserting our own bias in curating the contents, but we will mitigate the bias by doing the following things:
  • Link to diverse news coverage on one event for every entry
  • Enforce a rigorous data review method and be transparent about our methodology on the website 
  • Link to the most direct source for every entry.

Project vision

To document the history of Covid-19 with a focus on political news events, present it in a clear and engaging way, and allow users to quickly find information of their interets.