Visualizing composite ratings

A twitter reader submitted the following chart from Autoevolution (link): This is not a successful chart for the simple reason that readers want to look away from it. It's too busy. There is so much going on that one doesn't know where to look. The underlying dataset is quite common in the marketing world. Through surveys, people are asked to rate some product along a number of dimensions (here, seven)....

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Best chart I have seen this year

Marvelling at this chart:   *** The credit ultimately goes to a Reddit user (account deleted). I first saw it in this nice piece of data journalism by my friends at System 2 (link). They linked to Visual Capitalism (link). There are so many things on this one chart that makes me smile. The animation. The message of the story is aging population. Average age is moving up. This uptrend...

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Think twice before you spiral

After Nathan at FlowingData sang praises of the following chart, a debate ensued on Twitter as others dislike it. The chart was printed in an opinion column in the New York Times (link). I have found few uses for spiral charts, and this example has not changed my mind. The canonical time-series chart is like this:   *** The area chart takes no effort to understand. We can see when...

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Visual design is hard, brought to you by NYC subway

This poster showed up in a NY subway train recently. Visual design is hard! What is the message? The intention is, of course, to say Rootine is better than others. (That's the Q corner, if you're following the Trifecta Checkup.) What is the visual telling us (V corner)? It says Rootine is yellow while Others are purple. What do these color mean? There is no legend to help decipher it....

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Start at zero, or start at wherever

Andrew's post about start-at-zero helps me refine my own thinking on this evergreen topic. The specific example he gave is this one: The dataset is a numeric variable (y) with values over time (x). The minimum numeric value is around 3 and the range of values is from around 3 to just above 20. His advice is "If zero is in the neighborhood, invite it in". (Link) The rule, as...

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Getting to first before going to second

Happy holidays to all my readers! A special shutout to those who've been around for over 15 years. *** The following enhanced data table appeared in Significance magazine (August 2021) under an article titled "Winning an election, not a popularity contest" (link, paywalled) It's surprising hard to read and there are many reasons contributing to this. First is the antiquated style guide of academic journals, in which they turn legends...

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Graphing highly structured data

The following sankey diagram appeared in my Linkedin feed the other day, and I agree with the poster that this is an excellent example. It's an unusual use of a flow chart to show the P&L (profit and loss) statement of a business. It makes sense since these are flows of money. The graph explains how Spotify makes money - or how little profit it claims to have earned on...

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How does the U.K. vote in the U.N.?

Through my twitter feed, I found my way to this chart, made by jamie_bio. This is produced using R code even though it looks like a slide. The underlying dataset concerns votes at the United Nations on various topics. Someone has already classified these topics. Jamie looked at voting blocs, specifically, countries whose votes agree most often or least often with the U.K. If you look at his Github, this...

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To explain or to eliminate, that is the question

Today, I take a look at another project from Ray Vella's class at NYU. (The above image is a honeypot for "smart" algorithms that don't know how to handle image dimensions which don't fit their shadow "requirement". Human beings should proceed to the full image below.) As explained in this post, the students visualized data about regional average incomes in a selection of countries. It turns out that remarkable differences...

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Displaying convoluted indices

I reviewed another batch of projects from Ray Vella's class at NYU. The following piece by Carlos Lasso made an impression on me. There are no pyrotechnics but he made one decision that added a lot of clarity to the graphic. The underlying dataset gauges the income disparity of regions within nine countries. The richest and the poorest regions are selected for each country. Two time points are shown. Altogether, there...

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