Web/Tech

16 posts
Visualizing citation impact

Michael Bales and his associates at Cornell are working on a new visual tool for citations data. This is an area that is ripe for some innovation. There is a lot of data available but it seems difficult to gain insights from them. The prototypical question is how authoritative is a particular researcher or research group, judging from his or her or their publications. A proxy for "quality" is the...

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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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Counting the Olympic medals

Reader Conor H. sent in this daily medals table at the NBC website: He commented that the bars are not quite the right lengths. So even though China and Russia both won five total medals that day, the bar for China is slightly shorter. One issue with the stacked bar chart is that the reader's attention is drawn to the components rather that the whole. However, as is this case,...

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A Tufte fix for austerity

Trish, who attended one of my recent data visualization workshops, submitted a link to the Illinois Atlas of Austerity. Shown on the right is one of the charts included in the presentation. This is an example of a chart that fails my self-sufficiency test. There is no chance that readers are getting any information out of the graphical elements (the figurines of 100 people each). Everyone who tries to learn...

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What doesn’t help readers (on the chart) and what does help (off the chart)

Via Twitter, Bart S (@BartSchuijt) sent me to this TechCrunch article, which contains several uninspiring charts. The most disturbing one is this: There is a classic Tufte class here: only five numbers and yet the chart is so confusing. And yes, they reversed the axis. Lower means higher "app abandonment" and higher means lower "app abandonment". The co-existence of the data labels, gridlines, and axis labels increases processing time without...

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First ask the right question: the data scientist edition

A reader didn't like this graphic in the Wall Street Journal: One could turn every panel into a bar chart but unfortunately, the situation does not improve much. Some charts just can't be fixed by altering the visual design. The chart is frustrating to read: typically, colors are used to signify objects that should be compared. Focus on the brown wedges for a moment: Basic EDA 46%, Data cleaning 31%,...

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Enhanced tables, and supercharged spreadsheets with in-cell tech

Old-timer Chris P. sent me to this Bloomberg article about Vanguard ETFs and low-cost funds (link). The article itself is interesting, and I will discuss it on the sister blog some time in the future. Chris is impressed with this table included with the article: This table indeed presents the insight clearly. Those fund sectors in which Vanguard does not compete have much higher costs than the fund sectors in...

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