Business

110 posts
Variance is a friend of dataviz

Seven years ago, I wrote a post about "invariance" in data visualization, which is something we should avoid (link). Yesterday, Business Insider published the following chart in an article about rising gas prices (link): The map shows the average prices at the pump in seven regions of the United States.  This chart is succeeded by the following map: This second map shows the change in average gas prices in the...

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What does Elon Musk do every day?

The Wall Street Journal published a fun little piece about tweets by Elon Musk (link). Here is an overview of every tweet he sent since he started using Twitter more than a decade ago. Apparently, he sent at least one tweet almost every day for the last four years. In addition, his tweets appear at all hours of the day. (Presumably, he is not the only one tweeting from his...

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Selecting the right analysis plan is the first step to good dataviz

It's a new term, and my friend Ray Vella shared some student projects from his NYU class on infographics. There's always something to learn from these projects. The starting point is a chart published in the Economist a few years ago. This is a challenging chart to read. To save you the time, the following key points are pertinent: a) income inequality is measured by the disparity between regional averagesb)...

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Superb tile map offering multiple avenues for exploration

Here's a beauty by WSJ Graphics: The article is here. This data graphic illustrates the power of the visual medium. The underlying dataset is complex: power production by type of source by state by month by year. That's more than 90,000 numbers. They all reside on this graphic. Readers amazingly make sense of all these numbers without much effort. It starts with the summary chart on top. The designer made...

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Dots, lines, and 2D histograms

Daniel Z. tweeted about my post from last week. In particular, he took a deeper look at the chart of energy demand that put all hourly data onto the same plot, originally published at the StackOverflow blog: I noted that this is not a great chart particularly since what catches our eyes are not the key features of the underlying data. Daniel made a clearly better chart: This is a...

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The what of visualization, beyond the how

A long-time reader sent me the following chart from a Nature article, pointing out that it is rather worthless. The simple bar chart plots the number of downloads, organized by country, from the website called Sci-Hub, which I've just learned is where one can download scientific articles for free - working around the exorbitant paywalls of scientific journals. The bar chart is a good example of a Type D chart...

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The envelope of one’s data

This post is the second post in response to a blog post at StackOverflow (link) in which the author discusses the "harm" of "aggregating away the signal" in your dataset. The first post appears on my book blog earlier this week (link). One stop in their exploratory data analysis journey was the following chart: This chart plots all the raw data, all 8,760 values of electricity consumption in California in...

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Easy breezy bar charts, perhaps

I came across the following bar chart (link), which presents the results of a survey of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) on their attitudes toward data analytics. Responses are tabulated to the question about the most significant hurdle(s) against the increasing use of data and analytics for marketing. Eleven answers were presented, in addition to the catchall "Other" response. I'm unable to divine the rule used by the designer to sequence...

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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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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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