Design

97 posts
Women workers taken for a loop or four

I was drawn to the following chart in Business Insider because of the calendar metaphor. (The accompanying article is here.) Sometimes, the calendar helps readers grasp concepts faster but I'm afraid the usage here slows us down. The underlying data consist of just four numbers: the wage gaps between race and gender in the U.S., considered simply from an aggregate median personal income perspective. The analyst adopts the median annual...

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Illustrated color theory

Lauren Baldo illustrated how he applies color theory in his paintings and illustrations. You don’t have to travel far to see how this transfers to visualization. Tags: color

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Powerful photos visualizing housing conditions in Hong Kong

I was going to react to Alberto's post about the New York Times's article about economic inequality in Hong Kong, which is proposed as one origin to explain the current protest movement. I agree that the best graphic in this set is the "photoviz" showing the "coffins" or "cages" that many residents live in, because of the population density.  Then I searched the archives, and found this old post from...

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What is a bad chart?

In the recent issue of Madolyn Smith’s Conversations with Data newsletter hosted by DataJournalism.com, she discusses “bad charts,” featuring submissions from several dataviz bloggers, including myself. What is a “bad chart”? Based on this collection of curated "bad charts", it is not easy to nail down “bad-ness”. The common theme is the mismatch between the message intended by the designer and the message received by the reader, a classic error...

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Animation in visualization, revisited a decade later

Rewind to 2006 when Hans Rosling’s talk using moving bubbles was at peak attention. Researchers studied whether animation in visualization was a good thing. Danyel Fisher revisits their research a decade later. While they found that readers didn’t get much more accuracy from the movement versus other method, there was a big but: But we also found that users really liked the animation view: Study participants described it as “fun”,...

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Four Cs of data and design

Ben Fry using the “tropiest of design tropes”, describes his goals for visualization. On communication: Communication is the most basic part: the table stakes of information design. If the piece doesn’t communicate, then it’s useless. A lot of time, attention, and effort goes into creating PDF documents that few people will ever read. In the past this was even more expensive, because the result was elegant printed reports that would...

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The Periodic Table, a challenge in information organization

Reader Chris P. points me to this article about the design of the Periodic Table. I then learned that 2019 is the “International Year of the Periodic Table,” according to the United Nations. Here is the canonical design of the Periodic Table that science students are familiar with. (Source: Wikipedia.) The Periodic Table is an exercise of information organization and display. It's about adding structure to over 100 elements, so...

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Help people find themselves in the data

Researchers went around rural Pennsylvania, showing people the charts above and asking what they thought about them. Evan Peck with one of the main findings from the study: As we analyzed and coded our interviews, we were reminded of something that we often forget — data can be intimate and personal. If someone found a personal connection to any graph, it didn’t matter the color, the style or the technique. For the...

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Story formats for data

Financial Times, in an effort to streamline a part of the data journalism process, developed templates for data stories. They call it the Story Playbook: The Playbook is also an important driver of culture change in the newsroom. We have a rich and familiar vocabulary for print: The basement (A sometimes light-hearted, 350-word story that sits below the fold on the front page), for example, or the Page 3 (a...

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Counting and illustrating Game of Thrones deaths

Shelly Tan, for The Washington Post, has been counting on-screen deaths in Game of Thrones over the past few years. As the season ended, Tan described her process in an entertaining Twitter thread: This graphic had a lot of numbers, so here are the final ones: – 5 years of working on this project– 6887 deaths– 290 character illustrations– Far too many hours of sleep lost And now, at the...

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