Trifecta checkup

21 posts
Fantastic visual, but the Google data need some pre-processing

Another entry in the Google Newslab data visualization project that caught my eye is the "How to Fix It" project, illustrating search queries across the world that asks "how." The project web page is here. The centerpiece of the project is an interactive graphic showing queries related to how to fix home appliances. Here is what it looks like in France (It's always instructive to think about how they would...

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Lines, gridlines, reference lines, regression lines, the works

This post is part 2 of an appreciation of the chart project by Google Newslab, advised by Alberto Cairo, on the gender and racial diversity of the newsroom. Part 1 can be read here. In the previous discussion, I left out the following scatter bubble plot. This plot is available in two versions, one for gender and one for race. The key question being asked is whether the leadership in...

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The tech world in which everyone is below average

Laura pointed me to an infographic about tech worker salaries in major tech hubs (link). What's wrong with this map? The box "Global average" is doubly false. It is not global, and it is not the average! The only non-American cities included in this survey are Toronto, Paris and London. The only city with average salary above the "Global average" is San Francisco Bay Area. Since the Bay Area does...

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Governor of Maine wants a raise

In a Trifecta checkup, this map scores low on the Q corner: what is its purpose? What have readers learned about the salaries of state governors after looking at the map? (Link to original) The most obvious "insights" include: There are more Republican governors than Democratic governors Most Democratic governors are from the coastal states There is exactly one Independent governor Small states on the Eastern seaboard is messing up...

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A look at how the New York Times readers look at the others

The above chart, when it was unveiled at the end of November last year, got some mileage on my Twitter feed so it got some attention. A reader, Eric N., didn't like it at all, and I think he has a point. Here are several debatable design decisions. The chart uses an inverted axis. A tax cut (negative growth) is shown on the right while a tax increase is shown...

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Light entertainment: this looks like a bar chart

Long-time reader Daniel L. said this made him laugh. This prompted me revive a feature I used to run on here called "Light entertainment." Dataviz work that are so easy to ridicule that one wonders if they weren't just made for the laughs. See all previous installments here. Daniel also said it fails the Trifecta Checkup. What is the question the chart is addressing and what's the message? It's a...

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Choosing the right metric reveals the story behind the subway mess in NYC

I forgot who sent this chart to me - it may have been a Twitter follower. The person complained that the following chart exaggerated how much trouble the New York mass transit system (MTA) has been facing in 2017, because of the choice of the vertical axis limits. This chart is vintage Excel, using Excel defaults. I find this style ugly and uninviting. But the chart does contain some good...

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Shocker: ease of use requires expanding, not restricting, choices

Recently, I noted how we have to learn to hate defaults in data visualization software. I was reminded again of this point when reviewing this submission from long-time reader & contributor Chris P. The chart is included in this Medium article, which credits Mott Capital Management as the source. Look at the axis labels on the right side. They have the hallmarks of software defaults. The software designer decided 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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