Background

39 posts
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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Quick example of layering

The New York Times uses layering to place the Alabama tornadoes in context. (link) Today's wide availability of detailed data allows designers to create dense data graphics like this: The graphic shows the starting and ending locations and trajectory of each tornado, as well as the wind speeds (shown in color). Too much data slows down our understanding of the visual message. The remedy is to subtract. Here is a...

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Five steps to let the young ones shine

Knife stabbings are in the news in the U.K. and the Economist has a quartet of charts to illustrate what's going on. I'm going to focus on the chart on the bottom right. This shows the trend in hospital admissions due to stabbings in England from 2000 to 2018. The three lines show all ages, and two specific age groups: under 16 and 16-18. The first edit I made was...

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Appreciating population mountains

Tim Harford tweeted about a nice project visualizing of the world's distribution of population, and wondered why he likes it so much.  That's the question we'd love to answer on this blog! Charts make us emotional - some we love, some we hate. We like to think that designers can control those emotions, via design choices. I also happen to like the "Population Mountains" project as well. It fits nicely...

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Appreciating population mountains

Tim Harford tweeted about a nice project visualizing of the world's distribution of population, and wondered why he likes it so much.  That's the question we'd love to answer on this blog! Charts make us emotional - some we love, some we hate. We like to think that designers can control those emotions, via design choices. I also happen to like the "Population Mountains" project as well. It fits nicely...

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Well-structured, interactive graphic about newsrooms

Today, I take a detailed look at one of the pieces that came out of an amazing collaboration between Alberto Cairo, and Google's News Lab. The work on diversity in U.S. newsrooms is published here. Alberto's introduction to this piece is here. The project addresses two questions: (a) gender diversity (representation of women) in U.S. newsrooms and (b) racial diversity (representation of white vs. non-white) in U.S. newsrooms. One of...

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A gem among the snowpack of Olympics data journalism

It's not often I come across a piece of data journalism that pleases me so much. Here it is, the "Happy 700" article by Washington Post is amazing.   When data journalism and dataviz are done right, the designers have made good decisions. Here are some of the key elements that make this article work: (1) Unique The topic is timely but timeliness heightens both the demand and supply of...

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What do we think of the “packed” bar chart?

Xan Gregg - my partner in the #onelesspie campaign to replace terrible Wikipedia pie charts one at a time - has come up with a new chart form that he calls "packed bars". It's a combination of bar charts and the treemap. Here is an example of a packed barchart, in which the top 10 companies on the S&P500 index are displayed: What he's doing is to add context to...

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Much more to do after selecting a chart form

I sketched out this blog post right before the Superbowl - and was really worked up as I happened to be flying into Atlanta right after they won (well, according to any of our favorite "prediction engines," the Falcons had 95%+ chance of winning it all a minute from the end of the 4th quarter!) What I'd give to be in the SuperBowl-winning city the day after the victory! Maybe...

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