Design

45 posts
Bubble charts, ratios and proportionality

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about a challenger to the dominant weedkiller, Roundup, contains a nice selection of graphics. (Dicamba is the up-and-comer.) The change in usage of three brands of weedkillers is rendered as a small-multiples of choropleth maps. This graphic displays geographical and time changes simultaneously. The staircase chart shows weeds have become resistant to Roundup over time. This is considered a weakness in the...

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✚ Technical Know-How is Part One (The Process #70)

There's a technical component of visualization that leans towards code, data formatting, and clicking the right buttons in the right order. Then there's everything else that makes okay charts into something much better. Read More

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Best visual illusion of the year

Our brains are pretty good at finding patterns, but it has some blindspots and then we get confused. The Illusion of the Year contest targets those blindspots. This year’s winner shows a rotating pattern that seems to switch axes depending on where you look. Tags: axes, illusion

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Conceptualizing a chart using Trifecta: a practical example

In response to the reader who left a comment asking for ideas for improving the "marginal abatements chart" that was discussed here, I thought it might be helpful to lay out the process I go through when conceptualizing a chart. (Just a reminder, here is the chart we're dealing with.) First, I'm very concerned about the long program names. I see their proper placement in a horizontal orientation as a...

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This chart tells you how rich is rich – if you can read it

Via twitter, John B. sent me the following YouGov chart (link) that he finds difficult to read: The title is clear enough: the higher your income, the higher you set the bar. When one then moves from the title to the chart, one gets misdirected. The horizontal axis shows pound values, so the axis naturally maps to "the higher your income". But it doesn't. Those pound values are the "cutoff"...

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How to read this cost-benefit chart, and why it is so confusing

Long-time reader Antonio R. found today's chart hard to follow, and he isn't alone. It took two of us multiple emails and some Web searching before we think we "got it".   Antonio first encountered the chart in a book review (link) of Hal Harvey et. al, Designing Climate Solutions. It addresses the general topic of costs and benefits of various programs to abate CO2 emissions. The reviewer praised the...

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Data life cycle

Summarizing a talk by Xaquín G.V., Natalie Gerhardstein for Delano: Among González’ takeaways were that, in order to avoid misunderstandings or bias in data visualisation, it helps to be aware of the pitfalls across the lifecycle–from collection through analysis, to the visualisation itself–and, of course, the final story the data is helping to tell. Question, for example, whether correlations being made are legitimate, be transparent and be aware of the...

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Making the most detailed map of auto emissions in America

Using estimates from the Database of Road Transportation Emissions, Nadja Popovich and Denise Lu for The New York Times mapped auto emissions at high granularity. Popovich described their process on Storybench: I want to make graphics that really resonate with people. If that is your goal as a visual journalist, something to think through is just how you can tie data back to a more human experience. To kind of...

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Why scientists need to be better at visualization

For Knowable Magazine, Betsy Mason looks at the state of (not so good) data visualization in science and offers some direction for how it can improve: [S]cience is littered with poor data visualizations that confound readers and can even mislead the scientists who make them. Deficient data visuals can reduce the quality and impede the progress of scientific research. And with more and more scientific images making their way into...

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Randall Munroe of xkcd on Data Stories

Randall Munroe of xkcd was on the Data Stories podcast. He talks about his work, his process, and communicating complex ideas to a wide audience. It’s amazing how much of his process overlaps with visualizing data. Worth the full listen. Tags: Data Stories, Randall Munroe, xkcd

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