Current Affairs

14 posts
Is the visual serving the question?

The following chart concerns California's bullet train project. Now, look at the bubble chart at the bottom. Here it is - with all the data except the first number removed: It is impossible to know how fast the four other train systems run after I removed the numbers. The only way a reader can comprehend this chart is to read the data inside the bubbles. This chart fails the "self-sufficiency...

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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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Trump resistance chart: cleaning up order, importance, weight, paneling

Vox featured the following chart when discussing the rise of resistance to President Trump within the GOP. The chart is composed of mirrored bar charts. On the left side, with thicker pink bars that draw more attention, the design depicts the share of a particular GOP demographic segment that said they'd likely vote for a Trump challenger, according to a Morning Consult poll. This is the primary metric of interest,...

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Transforming the data to fit the message

A short time ago, there were reports that some theme-park goers were not happy about the latest price hike by Disney. One of these report, from the Washington Post (link), showed a chart that was intended to convey how much Disney park prices have outpaced inflation. Here is the chart: I had a lot of trouble processing this chart. The two lines are labeled "original price" and "in 2014 dollars"....

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Men and women faced different experiences in the labor market

Last week, I showed how the aggregate statistics, unemployment rate, masked some unusual trends in the labor market in the U.S. Despite the unemployment rate in 2018 being equal, and even a little below, that in 2000, the peak of the last tech boom, there are now significantly more people "not in the labor force," and these people are not counted in the unemployment rate statistic. The analysis focuses on...

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The ebb and flow of an effective dataviz showing the rise and fall of GE

A WSJ chart caught my eye the other day – I spotted someone looking at it in a coffee shop, and immediately got a hold of a copy. The chart plots the ebb and flow of GE’s revenues from the 1980s to the present. What grabbed my attention? The less-used chart form, and the appealing but not too gaudy color scheme. The chart presents a highly digestible view of the...

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The merry-go-round of investment bankers

Here is the start of my blog post about the chart I teased the other day:   Today's post deals with the following chart, which appeared recently at Business Insider (hat tip: my sister). It's immediately obvious that this chart requires a heroic effort to decipher. The question shown in the chart title "How many senior investment bankers left their firms?" is the easiest to answer, as the designer places the number...

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Crazy rich Asians inspire some rich graphics

On the occasion of the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, the New York Times did a very nice report on Asian immigration in the U.S. The first two graphics will be of great interest to those who have attended my free dataviz seminar (coming to Lyon, France in October, by the way. Register here.), as it deals with a related issue. The first chart shows an income gap widening between...

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Crazy rich Asians inspire some rich graphics

Kaiser Fung (Junkcharts, Principal Analytics Prep) examines several charts made by New York Times on income distribution among Asian Americans, as the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians dominates the U.S. box office in September.

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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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