Scatter plot

17 posts
Getting into the heads of the chart designer

When I look at this chart (from Business Insider), I try to understand the decisions made by its designer - which things are important to her/him, and which things are less important. The chart shows average salaries in the top 2 percent of income earners. The data are split by gender and by state. First, I notice that the designer chooses to use the map form. This decision suggests that...

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A pretty good chart ruined by some naive analysis

The following chart showing wage gaps by gender among U.S. physicians was sent to me via Twitter: The original chart was published by the Stat News website (link). I am most curious about the source of the data. It apparently came from a website called Doximity, which collects data from physicians. Here is a link to the PR release related to this compensation dataset. However, the data is not freely...

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It’s your fault when you use defaults

The following chart showed up on my Twitter feed last week. It's a cautionary tale for using software defaults.  At first glance, the stacking of years in a bar chart makes little sense. This is particularly so when there appears not to be any interesting annual trend: the four segments seem to have roughly equal length almost everywhere. This designer might be suffering from what I have called "loss aversion"...

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Sorting out what’s meaningful and what’s not

A few weeks ago, the New York Times Upshot team published a set of charts exploring the relationship between school quality, home prices and commute times in different regions of the country. The following is the chart for the New York/New Jersey region. (The article and complete data visualization is here.) This chart is primarily a scatter plot of home prices against school quality, which is represented by average test...

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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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Here are the cool graphics from the election

There were some very nice graphics work published during the last few days of the U.S. presidential election. Let me tell you why I like the following four charts. FiveThirtyEight's snake chart This chart definitely hits the Trifecta. It is narrowly focused on the pivotal questions of election night: which candidate is leading? if current projections hold, which candidate would win? how is the margin of victory? The chart is...

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Are People in Colder Countries Taller? (Continued…)

Earlier this week I posted two scatterplots examining the relationship between a country’s average temperature and its male residents’ average height. The data show some correlation, but there probably are several of other factors affecting height as well. The earlier plots shaded the country dots by income and region, allowing more context about the groupings of countries (hint: Europe is colder and taller). This next version, however, proportionally sizes the...

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Are People in Colder Countries Taller?

I got married in Amsterdam. One thing I remember most about my time in The Netherlands is the obvious height of the locals. Both men and women, generally, are quite tall. A new study supports my anecdotal observation. Dutch men are the tallest people in the World (women there are second), followed closely by some of their European neighbors. People in Southeast Asian and African countries are, on the other...

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What if the RNC assigned seating randomly

The punditry has spoken: the most important data question at the Republican Convention is where different states are located. Here is the FiveThirtyEight take on the matter: They crunched some numbers and argue that Trump's margin of victory in the state primaries is the best indicator of how close to the front that state's delegation is situated. Others have put this type of information on a map: The scatter plot...

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Super-informative ping-pong graphic

Via Twitter, Mike W. asked me to comment on this WSJ article about ping pong tables. According to the article, ping pong table sales track venture-capital deal flow: This chart is super-informative. I learned a lot from this chart, including: Very few VC-funded startups play ping pong, since the highlighted reference lines show 1000 deals and only 150 tables (!) The one San Jose store interviewed for the article is...

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