Weblogs

18 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 long view of hurricanes

This chart by Axios is well made. The full version is here. It's easy to identify all the Cat 5 hurricanes. Only important ones are labeled. The other labels are hidden behind the hover. The chart provides a good answer to the question: what time of the year does the worst hurricanes strike. It's harder to compare the maximum speeds of the hurricanes. I wish there is a way to...

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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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An enjoyable romp through the movies

Chris P. tipped me about this wonderful webpage containing an analysis of high-grossing movies. The direct link is here. First, a Trifecta checkup: This thoughtful web project integrates beautifully rendered, clearly articulated graphics with the commendable objective of bringing data to the conversation about gender and race issues in Hollywood, an ambitious goal that it falls short of achieving because the data only marginally address the question at hand. There...

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Chopped legs, and abridged analyses

Reader Glenn T. was not impressed by the graphical talent on display in the following column chart (and others) in a Monkey Cage post in the Washington Post: Not starting column charts at zero is like having one's legs chopped off. Here's an animated gif to show what's taking place: (you may need to click on it to see the animation) Since all four numbers show up on the chart...

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Is this chart rotten?

Some students pointed me to a FiveThirtyEight article about Rotten Tomatoes scores that contain the following chart: (link to original) This is a chart that makes my head spin. Too much is going on, and all the variables in the plot are tangled with each other. Even after looking at it for a while, I still don't understand how the author looked at the above and drew this conclusion: "Movies...

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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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Brexit, Bremain, the world did not end so dataviz people can throw shade and color

Catching a dose of Alberto Cairo the other day. He has a good post about various Brexit/Bremain maps. The story started with an editor of The Spectator, who went on twitter to make the claim that the map on the right is better than someone else's map on the left: There are two levels at which we should discuss these maps: the scaling of the data, and the mapping of colors....

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Showing three dimensions using a ternary plot

Long-time reader Daniel L. isn't a fan of this chart, especially when it is made to spin, as you can see at this link: Like other 3D charts, this one is hard to read. The vertical lines are both good and bad: They make the one dimension very easy to read but their very existence makes one realize the challenges of reading the other dimensions without guidelines. This dataset allows...

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