Finance

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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What do we think of the “packed” bar chart?

Xan Gregg - my partner in the #onelesspie campaign to replace terrible Wikipedia pie charts one at a time - has come up with a new chart form that he calls "packed bars". It's a combination of bar charts and the treemap. Here is an example of a packed barchart, in which the top 10 companies on the S&P500 index are displayed: What he's doing is to add context to...

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The art of contaminating data

This is one of those innocent-looking charts that could have been a poster child for artistic embellishment. The straightforward time-series chart is deemed too boring. The designer shows admirable constraint in inserting “information-free” content, such as the dense gridlines (graph paper) and the 3D effect (ticker). Seem harmless but not really. Here I turn off the color. After the 3D effect is applied, the reader no longer knows whether to...

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February talks, and exploratory data analysis using visuals

News: In February, I am bringing my dataviz lecture to various cities: Atlanta (Feb 7), Austin (Feb 15), and Copenhagen (Feb 28). Click on the links for free registration. I hope to meet some of you there. *** On the sister blog about predictive models and Big Data, I have been discussing aspects of a dataset containing IMDB movie data. Here are previous posts (1, 2, 3). The latest instalment...

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Lines that delight, lines that blight

This WSJ graphic caught my eye. The accompanying article is here. The article (judging from the sub-header) makes two separate points, one about the total amount of money raised in IPOs in a year, and the change in market value of those newly-public companies one year from the IPO date. The first metric is shown by the size of the bubbles while the second metric is displayed as distances from...

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Round things, square things

The following chart traces the flow of funds into AI (artificial intelligence) startups. I found it on this webpage and it is attributed to Financial Times. Here, I apply the self-sufficiency test to show that the semicircles are playing no role in the visualization. When the numbers are removed, readers cannot understand the data at all. So the visual elements are toothless. Actually, it's worse. The data got encoded in...

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Depicting imbalance, straying from the standard chart

My friend Tonny M. sent me a tip to two pretty nice charts depicting the state of U.S. healthcare spending (link). The first shows U.S. as an outlier: This chart is a replica of the Lane Kenworthy chart, with some added details, that I have praised here before. This chart remains one of the most impactful charts I have seen. The added time-series details allow us to see a divergence...

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Graphical inequity ruins the chart

This Economist chart has a great concept but I find it difficult to find the story: (link) I am a fan of color-coding the text as they have done here so that part is good. The journalist has this neat idea of comparing those who are apathetic ("don't care about whether Britain is in or out") and those who are passionate ("strongly prefer" that Britain is either in or out)....

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Searchable campaign finance data from the FEC

Every four years, campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission peeks its head out into the light of importance. Committees and officials must report significant contributions to campaigns, which in turn provides a view into who is on who’s side. The weird thing is that the data was oddly tough to access for an everyday user, which is why third-party APIs and news orgs were and still are the...

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The many-faced area chart is not usually your best choice

I found this chart about the exploding U.S. debt levels in ZeroHedge (link), sourced from Citibank. The top line story is pretty easy to see: total debt levels have almost reached the peak of the 1930s. (Ignore that dreadful labeling of the years on the horizontal axis.) Now, the three colors supposedly carry further insights related to the components of the debt. The problem is it is very hard to...

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