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Common charting issues related to connecting lines, labels, sequencing

The following chart about "ranges and trends for digital marketing salaries" has some problems that appear in a great number of charts. The head tilt required to read the job titles. The order of the job titles is baffling. It's neither alphabetical nor by salary. The visual form suggests that we could see trends in salaries reading left-right, but the only information about trends is the year on year salary...

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Discoloring the chart to re-discover its plot

Today's chart comes from Pew Research Center, and the big question is why the colors? The data show the age distributions of people who believe different religions. It's a stacked bar chart, in which the ages have been grouped into the young (under 15), the old (60 plus) and everyone else. Five religions are afforded their own bars while "folk" religions are grouped as one, and so have "other" religions....

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Using a bardot chart for survey data

Aleks J. wasn't amused by the graphs included in Verge's report about user attitudes toward the major Web brands such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Let's use this one as an example: Survey respondents are asked to rate how much they like or dislike the products and services from each of six companies, on a five-point scale. There is a sixth category for "No opinion/Don't use." In making this set...

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The visual should be easier to read than your data

A reader sent this tip in some time ago and I lost track of who he/she is. This graphic looks deceptively complex. What's complex is not the underlying analysis. The design is complex and so the decoding is complex. The question of the graphic is a central concern of anyone who's retired: how long will one's savings last? There are two related metrics to describe the durability of the stash,...

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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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Sorting algorithms visualized with rainbow color palette

I bet you woke up this morning thinking, “I haven’t seen a good visualization of sorting algorithms in at least a week. I wish someone would get on that.” Well here you go. Wish granted. See also sorting algorithms explained with dance, books, and sound. And while we’re at it, don’t forget Mike Bostock’s visual essay on visualizing algorithms. [Thanks @SimStolz] Tags: sorting

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Three pies and a bar: serving visual goodness

If you are not sick of the Washington Post article about friends (not) letting friends join the other party, allow me to write yet another post on, gasp, that pie chart. And sorry to have kept reader Daniel L. waiting, as he pointed out, when submitting this chart to me, that he had tremendous difficulty understanding it:   This is not one pie but six pies on a platter. There...

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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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The salaries are attractive but the chart isn’t

The only reason why the IEEE Spectrum magazine editors chose this chart form is because they think they need to deliver precise salary figures to readers. This chart is just so... sad. The color scheme is all wrong, the black suggesting a funeral. The printed data occupying at least half of the width of each bar frustrate any attempt to compare lengths. We enter an unusual place where higher numbers...

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Visualizing electoral college politics: exercise in displaying relationships between variables

Reader Berry B. sent in a tip quite some months ago that I just pulled out of my inbox. He really liked the Washington Post's visualization of the electoral college in the Presidential election. (link) One of the strengths of this project is the analysis that went on behind the visualization. The authors point out that there are three variables at play: the population of each state, the votes casted...

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