Design

1 posts
Everlasting pie chart

Manuel Lima goes into the history of the pie chart, or rather, circle representations in general. Despite many people poo-pooing the chart type over the decades, it keeps hanging around: We might think of the pie chart as a fairly recent invention, with arguably more flaws than benefits, in regards to the statistical portrayal of data. However, if we look deep into history we realize this popular chart is only...

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Why “flatten the curve” chart worked

I know it seems like ages ago when we were talking about flattening the curve, but it was a rallying cry at some point. The charts that started it all weren’t particularly fancy or something to admire. For Mother Jones, Abigail Weinberg wondered why it still worked: There were axes and legends, and Drew Harris, a professor of population health, would later add a line representing the capacity of the...

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Guides for Visualizing Reality

We like to complain about how data is messy, not in the right format, and how parts don’t make sense. Reality is complicated though. Data comes from the realities. Here are several guides to help with visualizing these realities, which seem especially important these days. Visualizing the Uncertainty in Data For when you don’t know what is going to happen. Visualizing Incomplete and Missing Data We love complete and nicely...

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Drawing the coronavirus

What does the coronavirus look like? Rebekah Frumkin for The Paris Review highlights various illustrations and renderings, focusing on why each looks the way it does: The disease that has put the entire world on pause is easily communicable, capable of stowing silently away in certain hosts and killing others, and, to the human eye, entirely invisible. In media parlance it’s become our “invisible enemy”: a nightmarish, oneiric force that...

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Explore Explain is a new visualization podcast about how the charts get made

From Andy Kirk, there’s a new visualization podcast in town: Explore Explain is a new data visualisation podcast and video series. Each episode is based on a conversation with visualisation designers to explore the design story behind a single visualisation, or series of related works. The conversations provide an opportunity to explain their design process and to share insight on the myriad little decisions that underpin the finished works. It...

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Evaluating timeline layouts

To show events over time, you can use a timeline, which is often marks on a line that runs from less recent to more recent. But you can vary the shape. Sara Di Bartolomeo and her group researched the effectiveness of different layouts: Considering the findings of our experiment, we formulated some design recommendations for timelines using one of the data set types we took into account. Here is a...

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Twitter people UpSet with that Covid symptoms diagram

Been busy with an exciting project, which I might talk about one day. But I promised some people I'll follow up on Covid symptoms data visualization, so here it is. After I posted about the Venn diagram used to depict self-reported Covid-19 symptoms by users of the Covid Symptom Tracker app (reported by Nature), Xan and a few others alerted me to Twitter discussion about alternative visualizations that people have...

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BellTopo Sans is is a free typeface based on maps from 1800s

While working on maps inspired by USGS maps from the 1800s, Sarah Bell made a typeface to match: While making my own USGS-inspired maps, my search never returned the exact type of font I was looking for. The fruitless search was serendipitous however, because it provided the push to make my own. It was designed for map labels that are no larger than 80-100pt, but usually much smaller. I decided...

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Habit-busting designs don’t work

The design changes that most frustrate users are those that bust their habits. Case in point. Apple re-designed the bottom navigator of the iphone mail app. See what it looked like before and what it looks like today: Notice how the 2nd slot from the bottom right used to be for replying, and after the re-design, it has become the button for deleting. So when I intended to reply to...

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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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