Who is a millennial? An example of handling uncertainty

I found this fascinating chart from CNBC, which attempts to nail down the definition of a millennial. It turns out everyone defines "millennials" differently. They found 23 different definitions. Some media outlets apply different definitions in different items. I appreciate this effort a lot. The design is thoughtful. In making this chart, the designer added the following guides: The text draws attention to the definition with the shortest range of...

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The rule governing which variable to put on which axis, served a la mode

When making a scatter plot, the two variables should not be placed arbitrarily. There is a rule governing this: the outcome variable should be shown on the vertical axis (also called y-axis), and the explanatory variable on the horizontal (or x-) axis. This chart from the archives of the Economist has this reversed: The title of the accompanying article is "Ice Cream and IQ"... In a Trifecta Checkup (link), it's...

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Statistical significance explainer, and Instagram’s experiment to hide Likes

There are some statistical concepts that all data visualization practitioners should know about, and the concept of statistical significance is one of them. It's a hard concept to grasp because it requires one to think beyond the data that are collected. The abstract thinking is necessary since we typically want to make general statements - while using the collected data as evidence. My new video in the Data Science: The...

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Does this chart tell the sordid tale of T1’s decline?

The Hustle has an interesting article on the demise of the T1 calculator, which is popular in business circles. The article uses this bar chart: From a Trifecta Checkup perspective, this is a Type DV chart. (See this guide to the Trifecta Checkup.) The chart addresses a nice question: is the T1 graphing calculator a victim of new technologies? The visual design is marred by the use of the calculator...

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The windy path to the Rugby World Cup

When I first saw the following chart, I wondered whether it is really that challenging for these eight teams to get into the Rugby World Cup, currently playing in Japan: Another visualization of the process conveys a similar message. Both of these are uploaded to Wikipedia. (This one hasn't been updated and still contains blank entries.) *** What are some of the key messages one would want the dataviz to...

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The time of bird seeds and chart tuneups

The recent post about multi-national companies reminded me of an older post, in which I stepped through data table enhancements. Here is a video of the process. You can use any tool to implement the steps; even Excel is good enough.     The video is part of a series called "Data science: the Missing Pieces". In these episodes, I cover the parts of data science that are between the...

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Pulling the multi-national story out, step by step

Reader Aleksander B. found this Economist chart difficult to understand. Given the chart title, the reader is looking for a story about multinationals producing lower return on equity than local firms. The first item displayed indicates that multinationals out-performed local firms in the technology sector. The pie charts on the right column provide additional information about the share of each sector by the type of firms. Is there a correlation...

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Tennis greats at the top of their game

The following chart of world No. 1 tennis players looks pretty but the payoff of spending time to understand it isn't high enough. The light colors against the tennis net backdrop don't work as intended. The annotation is well done, and it's always neat to tug a legend inside the text. The original is found at Tableau Public (link). The topic of the analysis appears to be the ages at...

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Announcement: Advancing your data skills, Fall 2019

Interrupting the flow of dataviz with the following announcement. If you're looking to shore up your data skills, modernize your skill set, or know someone looking for hands-on, high-touch instruction in Machine Learning, R, Cloud Computing, Data Quality, Digital Analytics,  A/B Testing and Financial Analysis, Principal Analytics Prep is offering evening classes this Fall. Click here to learn about our courses.  Our instructors are industry veterans with 10+ years of...

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Choosing between individuals and aggregates

Friend/reader Thomas B. alerted me to this paper that describes some of the key chart forms used by cancer researchers. It strikes me that many of the "new" charts plot granular data at the individual level. This heatmap showing gene expressions show one column per patient: This so-called swimmer plot shows one bar per patient: This spider plot shows the progression of individual patients over time. Key events are marked...

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