WSJ

18 posts
Making people jump over hoops

Take a look at the following chart, and guess what message the designer wants to convey: This chart accompanied an article in the Wall Street Journal about Wells Fargo losing brokers due to the fake account scandal, and using bonuses to lure them back. Like you, my first response to the chart was that little has changed from 2015 to 2017. It is a bit mysterious the intention of 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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Story within story, bar within bar

This Wall Street Journal offering caught my eye. It's the unusual way of displaying proportions. Your first impression is to interpret the graphic as a bar chart. But it really is a bar within a bar: the crux of the matter - gender balance - is embedded in individual bars. Instead of pie charts or stacked bar charts, we see  stacked columns within each bar. I see what the designer...

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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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An example of focusing the chart on a message

Via Jimmy Atkinson on Twitter, I am alerted to this chart from the Wall Street Journal. The title of the article is "Fiscal Constraints Await the Next President." The key message is that "the next president looks to inherit a particularly dismal set of fiscal circumstances." Josh Zumbrun, who tipped Jimmy about this chart on Twitter, said that it is worth spending time on. I like the concept of the...

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Denver outspends everyone on this

Someone at the Wall Street Journal noticed that Denver's transit agency has outspent other top transit agencies, after accounting for number of rides -- and by a huge margin. But the accompanying graphic conspires against the journalist. For one thing, Denver is at the bottom of the page. Denver's two bars do not stand out in any way. New York's transit system dwarfs everyone else in both number of rides...

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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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The surprising impact of mixing chart forms

At first glance, this Wall Street Journal chart seems unlikely to impress as it breaks a number of "rules of thumb" frequently espoused by dataviz experts. The inconsistency of mixing a line chart and a dot plot. The overplotting of dots. The ten colors... However, I actually like this effort. The discontinuity of chart forms nicely aligns with the split between the actual price movements on the left side and...

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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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A quick lesson in handling more than one messages on one chart

Between teaching two classes, and a seminar, and logging two coast-to-coast flights, I was able to find time to rethink the following chart from the Wall Street Journal: (link to article) I like the right side of this chart, which helps readers interpret what the alcohol consumption guidelines really mean. When we go out and drink, we order beers, or wine, or drinks - we don't think in terms of...

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