Axis

28 posts
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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Finding simple ways to explain complicated data and concepts, using some Pew data

A reader submitted the following chart from Pew Research for discussion. The reader complained that this chart was difficult to comprehend. What are some of the reasons? The use of color is superfluous. Each line is a "cohort" of people being tracked over time. Each cohort is given its own color or hue. But the color or hue does not signify much. The dotted lines. This design element requires a...

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Big Macs in Switzerland are amazing, according to my friend

Note for those in or near Zurich: I'm giving a Keynote Speech tomorrow morning at the Swiss Statistics Meeting (link). Here is the abstract: The best and the worst of data visualization share something in common: these graphics provoke emotions. In this talk, I connect the emotional response of readers of data graphics to the design choices made by their creators. Using a plethora of examples, collected over a dozen...

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Headless people invade London, chart claims

Some 10 days ago, Mike B. on Twitter forwarded me this chart from Time Out: Mike added: "Wow, decapitations in London have really gone up!" A closer look at the chart reveals more problems. The axis labels are in the wrong places. It appears that the second dot represents 1940 and the second-last dot represents 2020. There are 12 dots between those two labels, corresponding to three evenly-spaced labels. This...

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Lines, gridlines, reference lines, regression lines, the works

This post is part 2 of an appreciation of the chart project by Google Newslab, advised by Alberto Cairo, on the gender and racial diversity of the newsroom. Part 1 can be read here. In the previous discussion, I left out the following scatter bubble plot. This plot is available in two versions, one for gender and one for race. The key question being asked is whether the leadership in...

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The tech world in which everyone is below average

Laura pointed me to an infographic about tech worker salaries in major tech hubs (link). What's wrong with this map? The box "Global average" is doubly false. It is not global, and it is not the average! The only non-American cities included in this survey are Toronto, Paris and London. The only city with average salary above the "Global average" is San Francisco Bay Area. Since the Bay Area does...

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