Axis

38 posts
Clarifying comparisons in censored cohort data: UK housing affordability

If you're pondering over the following chart for five minutes or more, don't be ashamed. I took longer than that. The chart accompanied a Financial Times article about inter-generational fairness in the U.K. To cut to the chase, a recently released study found that younger generations are spending substantially higher proportions of their incomes to pay for housing costs. The FT article is here (behind paywall). FT actually slightly modified...

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Clarifying comparisons in censored cohort data: UK housing affordability

If you're pondering over the following chart for five minutes or more, don't be ashamed. I took longer than that. The chart accompanied a Financial Times article about inter-generational fairness in the U.K. To cut to the chase, a recently released study found that younger generations are spending substantially higher proportions of their incomes to pay for housing costs. The FT article is here (behind paywall). FT actually slightly modified...

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Re-thinking a standard business chart of stock purchases and sales

Here is a typical business chart. A possible story here: institutional investors are generally buying AMD stock, except in Q3 2018. Let's give this chart a three-step treatment. STEP 1: The Basics Remove the data labels, which stand sideways awkwardly, and are redundant given the axis labels. If the audience includes people who want to take the underlying data, then supply a separate data table. It's easier to copy and...

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Re-thinking a standard business chart of stock purchases and sales

Here is a typical business chart. A possible story here: institutional investors are generally buying AMD stock, except in Q3 2018. Let's give this chart a three-step treatment. STEP 1: The Basics Remove the data labels, which stand sideways awkwardly, and are redundant given the axis labels. If the audience includes people who want to take the underlying data, then supply a separate data table. It's easier to copy and...

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An exercise in decluttering

My friend Xan found the following chart by Pew hard to understand. Why is the chart so taxing to look at?  It's packing too much. I first notice the shaded areas. Shading usually signifies "look here". On this chart, the shading is highlighting the least important part of the data. Since the top line shows applicants and the bottom line admitted students, the shaded gap displays the rejections. The numbers...

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Check out the Lifespan of News project

Alberto Cairo introduces another one of his collaborations with Google, visualizing Google search data. We previously looked at other projects here. The latest project, designed by Schema, Axios, and Google News Initiative, tracks the trending of popular news stories over time and space, and it's a great example of making sense of a huge pile of data. The design team produced a sequence of graphics to illustrate the data. The...

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This chart advises webpages to add more words

A reader sent me the following chart. In addition to the graphical glitch, I was asked about the study's methodology. I was able to trace the study back to this page. The study uses a line chart instead of the bar chart with axis not starting at zero. The line shows that web pages ranked higher by Google on the first page tend to have more words, i.e. longer content...

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GDPR: justice for data visualization

Reader LG found the following chart, tweeted by @EU_Justice. This chart is a part of a larger infographic, which is found here. The following points out a few issues with this effort: The time axis is quite embarrassing. The first six months or so are squeezed into less than half the axis while the distance between Nov and Dec is not the same as that between Dec and Jan. So...

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Labels, scales, controls, aggregation all in play

JB @barclaysdevries sent me the following BBC production over Twitter. He was not amused. This chart pushes a number of my hot buttons. First, I like to assume that readers don't need to be taught that 2007 and 2018 are examples of "Year". Second, starting an area chart away from zero is equally as bad as starting a bar chart not at zero! The area is distorted and does not...

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Message-first visualization

Sneaky Pete via Twitter sent me the following chart, asking for guidance: This is a pretty standard dataset, frequently used in industry. It shows a breakdown of a company's profit by business unit, here classified by "state". The profit projection for the next year is measured on both absolute dollar terms and year-on-year growth. Since those two metrics have completely different scales, in both magnitude and unit, it is common...

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