Design

61 posts
Importance of form and survey design to gain an accurate picture

Lena Groeger, writing for Source, shifts attention upstream from analysis to the design of forms in the data collection process. Whether you’re filling out a form or building it yourself, you should be aware that decisions about how to design a form have all kinds of hidden consequences. How you ask a question, the order of questions, the wording and format of the questions, even whether a question is included...

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Choosing color palettes for choropleth maps

Choropleth maps, the ones where regions are filled with colors based on data, grow easier to make. However, choosing colors, the number of colors, and the breakpoints is often less straightforward, because the answer is always context-specific. Lisa Charlotte Rost, now at Datawrapper, provides a rundown of the decision process. The explanation is in the context of the Datawrapper tool, but you can easily apply the logic to your own...

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Fifty-nine intersections supporting forty dots of data

My friend Ray V. asked how this chart can be improved: Let's try to read this chart. The Economist is always the best at writing headlines, and this one is simple and to the point: the rich get richer. This is about inequality but not just inequality - the growth in inequality over time. Each country has four dots, divided into two pairs. From the legend, we learn that the...

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Project Lincoln from Adobe aims to reverse data visualization workflow

With data visualization, you start with the data and let it guide geometry, colors, etc, and from there, you work on aesthetics, readability, and usability. The data informs the design. Project Lincoln is an experiment from Adobe that flips this. You draw shapes and illustrations first and then bind data to them. Here it is in action: My brain was confused. Something about this order of things doesn’t feel right....

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Lop-sided precincts, a visual exploration

In the last post, I discussed one of the charts in the very nice Washington Post feature, delving into polarizing American voters. See the post here. (Thanks again Daniel L.) Today's post is inspired by the following chart (I am  showing only the top of it - click here to see the entire chart): The chart plots each state as a separate row, so like most such charts, it is...

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Infographic design sins in meme form

Visual editor Xaquín G.V. recently used the distracted boyfriend meme to represent our attraction to novel visualization methods when a simple and visually sound method is right there at our disposal. Then he ran with it to illustrate his professional sins as an editor for a news desk. Tags: meme, sins

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This one takes time to make, takes even more time to read

Reader Matt F. contributed this confusing chart from Wired, accompanying an article about Netflix viewing behavior.  Matt doesn't like this chart. He thinks the main insight - most viewers drop out after the first episode - is too obvious. And there are more reasons why the chart doesn't work. This is an example of a high-effort, low-reward chart. See my return-on-effort matrix for more on this subject. The high effort...

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The art of arranging bars

Twitter friend Janie H. asked how I would visualize a hypothetical third column of this chart that contains the change from 2016 to 2017: This table records the results from a survey question by eMarketer, asking respondents ("marketers") to identify their top 5 technology priorities in the next 12 months. I suggested the following: A hype-chasing phenomemon is clearly at play. Internet of Things and wearable technology are so last...

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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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