Comparability

44 posts
Steel tariffs, and my new dataviz seminar

I am developing a new seminar aimed at business professionals who want to improve their ability to communicate using charts. I want any guidance to be tool-agnostic, so that attendees can implement them using Excel if that’s their main charting software. Over the 12+ years that I’ve been blogging, certain ideas keep popping up; and I have collected these motifs and organized them for the seminar. This post is about...

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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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When design goes awry

One can't accuse the following chart of lacking design. Strong is the evidence of departing from convention but the design decisions appear wayward. (The original link on Money here)   The donut chart (right) has nine sections. Eight of the sections (excepting A) have clearly all been bent out of shape. It turns out that section A does not have the right size either. The middle gray circle is not...

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Excellent visualization of gun violence in American cities

I like the Guardian's feature (undated) on gun violence in American cities a lot. The following graphic illustrates the situation in Baltimore. The designer starts by placing where the gun homicides occured in 2015. Then, it leads readers through an exploration of the key factors that might be associated with the spatial distribution of those homicides. The blue color measures poverty levels. There is a moderate correlation between high numbers...

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Verging on trust

I’m not quite done with that Verge survey on social media popularity. Last time, I discussed one of the stacked bar charts about how much users like or dislike specific brands such as Facebook and Twitter. Today, I look at the very first chart in the article. This chart supposedly says users trust Amazon the most among those technology brands, just about the same level as customers trust their bank....

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Choosing the right metric reveals the story behind the subway mess in NYC

I forgot who sent this chart to me - it may have been a Twitter follower. The person complained that the following chart exaggerated how much trouble the New York mass transit system (MTA) has been facing in 2017, because of the choice of the vertical axis limits. This chart is vintage Excel, using Excel defaults. I find this style ugly and uninviting. But the chart does contain some good...

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Fifty-nine intersections supporting forty dots of data

My friend Ray V. asked how this chart can be improved: Let's try to read this chart. The Economist is always the best at writing headlines, and this one is simple and to the point: the rich get richer. This is about inequality but not just inequality - the growth in inequality over time. Each country has four dots, divided into two pairs. From the legend, we learn that the...

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Let’s not mix these polarized voters as the medians run away from one another

Long-time follower Daniel L. sent in a gem, by the Washington Post. This is a multi-part story about the polarization of American voters, nicely laid out, with superior analyses and some interesting graphics. Click here to see the entire article. Today's post focuses on the first graphic. This one: The key messages are written out on the 2017 charts: namely, 95% of Republicans are more conservative than the median Democrat,...

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Let’s not mix these polarized voters as the medians run away from one another

Long-time follower Daniel L. sent in a gem, by the Washington Post. This is a multi-part story about the polarization of American voters, nicely laid out, with superior analyses and some interesting graphics. Click here to see the entire article. Today's post focuses on the first graphic. This one: The key messages are written out on the 2017 charts: namely, 95% of Republicans are more conservative than the median Democrat,...

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Getting into the heads of the chart designer

When I look at this chart (from Business Insider), I try to understand the decisions made by its designer - which things are important to her/him, and which things are less important. The chart shows average salaries in the top 2 percent of income earners. The data are split by gender and by state. First, I notice that the designer chooses to use the map form. This decision suggests that...

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