Design

6 posts
Some like it packed, some like it piled, and some like it wrapped

In addition to Xan's "packed bars" (which I discussed here), there are some related efforts to improve upon the treemap. To recap, treemap is a design to show parts against the whole, and it works by packing rectangles into the bounding box. Frequently, this leads to odd-shaped rectangles, e.g. really thin and really tall ones, and it asks readers to estimate relative areas of differently-scaled boxes. We often make mistakes...

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Criticism vs. Creation

Filmmaker Kevin Smith talks about making things versus critiquing them. He’s talking about movies, but you can so easily plug in visualization. I just kept nodding yes. [via swissmiss] Tags: criticism

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Data exploration banned

Statistician John Tukey, who coined Exploratory Data Analysis, talked a lot about using visualization to find meaning in your data. You don’t always know what you’re looking, so you explore it visually. Etyn Adar, who teaches information visualization at the University of Michigan, makes a good case for banning the phrase in his students’ project proposals. For all the clever names he created for things (software, bit, cepstrum, quefrency) what’s...

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Use dual axes with care, if at all

Dual axes, where there are two value scales in a single chart, are almost never a good idea. As a reader, you should always question the source when you see a chart that uses such scales. Zan Armstrong explains with a recent example. One of the best descriptions I’ve heard for data viz is that: when the data is different, the viz should look different and when the data is...

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Data bias at every step

Lena Groeger for ProPublica describes when the designer shows up in the design, not just in the visualization part but also in collection, selection, and aggregation. Our perspective always comes to play. The effects may be subtle, but if we pour so much of ourselves into the stories we tell, the data we gather, the visuals we design, the webpages we build, then we should take responsibility for them. And...

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Interactive visualization is still alive

Phew. Close call. New York Times graphics editor Gregor Aisch noted during a talk that 85 percent of readers didn’t click on the buttons of a popular interactive. So Dominikus Baur pondered the usefulness of interaction. The answer was yes. It’s all about purpose. To clarify, Aisch recently came back to the 85 percent figure. Knowing that the majority of readers doesn’t click buttons does not mean you shouldn’t use...

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Motion design patterns

Issara Willenskomer talks in detail about the use of animation in UX design with a focus on twelve specific patterns. Different types of motion can represent different things. It’s easy to see how this applies to visualization. Tags: motion

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Interactive or not to interactive visualization?

In a recent talk, New York Times graphics editor Gregor Aisch noted that only 10 to 15 percent of readers who visit an interactive visualization on their site actually click on anything. That’s a lot of people who don’t get everything that New York Times interactives have to offer, which begs the question: Is it worth the time and effort to make these things? As with most design-related things, it...

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Visualization choice depends on the data and the questions

When you don’t know where to start with a dataset, try to come up with a question. It’ll point you in the direction you want to go, as this guide by Frédérik Ruys shows you. [via @maartenzam] Tags: questions

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Pie charts are okay

There were some ripples in the space time continuum recently about a pizza and a pie chart. It looked like a pie chart but was actually just a pizza with numbers around it. Those numbers didn’t sum to 100 percent, so there were pitch forks and burning and like I said, ripples in the space time continuum. Here, have a look for yourself: It’s social media filler content, so whatever....

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