Dot plot

84 posts
Funnel is just for fun

This is part 2 of a review of a recent video released by NASA. Part 1 is here. The NASA video that starts with the spiral chart showing changes in average global temperature takes a long time (about 1 minute) to run through 14 decades of data, and for those who are patient, the chart then undergoes a dramatic transformation. With a sleight of hand, the chart went from a...

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Dots, lines, and 2D histograms

Daniel Z. tweeted about my post from last week. In particular, he took a deeper look at the chart of energy demand that put all hourly data onto the same plot, originally published at the StackOverflow blog: I noted that this is not a great chart particularly since what catches our eyes are not the key features of the underlying data. Daniel made a clearly better chart: This is a...

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There’s more to the composite rating chart

In my previous post, I sketched a set of charts to illustrate composite ratings of maps platforms (e.g. Google Maps, TomTom). Here is the sketch again: For those readers who are interested in understanding these ratings beyond the obvious, this set of charts has more to offer. Take a look first at the two charts on the left hand side. Compare the patterns of dots between the two charts. You...

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Visualizing composite ratings

A twitter reader submitted the following chart from Autoevolution (link): This is not a successful chart for the simple reason that readers want to look away from it. It's too busy. There is so much going on that one doesn't know where to look. The underlying dataset is quite common in the marketing world. Through surveys, people are asked to rate some product along a number of dimensions (here, seven)....

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Ridings, polls, elections, O Canada

Stephen Taylor reached out to me about his work to visualize Canadian elections data. I took a look. I appreciate the labor of love behind this project. He led with a streamgraph, which presents a quick overview of relative party strengths over time. I am no Canadian election expert, and I did a bare minimum of research in writing this blog. From this chart, I learn that: the Canadians have...

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Working hard at clarity

As I am preparing another blog post about the pandemic, I came across the following data graphic, recently produced by the CDC for a vaccine advisory board meeting: This is not an example of effective visual communications. *** For one thing, readers are directed to scour the footnotes to figure out what's going on. If we ignore those for the moment, we see clusters of bubbles that have remained pretty...

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Reading this chart won’t take as long as withdrawing troops from Afghanistan

Art sent me the following Economist chart, noting how hard it is to understand. I took a look, and agreed. It's an example of a visual representation that takes more time to comprehend than the underlying data. The chart presents responses to 3 questions on a survey. For each question, the choices are Approve, Disapprove, and "Neither" (just picking a word since I haven't seen the actual survey question). The...

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Two commendable student projects, showing different standards of beauty

A few weeks ago, I did a guest lecture for Ray Vella's dataviz class at NYU, and discussed a particularly hairy dataset that he assigns to students. I'm happy to see the work of the students, and there are two pieces in particular that show promise. The following dot plot by Christina Barretto shows the disparities between the richest and poorest nations increasing between 2000 and 2015. The underlying dataset...

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Come si dice donut in italiano

One of my Italian readers sent me the following "horror chart". (Last I checked, it's not Halloween.) I mean, people are selling these rainbow sunglasses. The dataset behind the chart is the market share of steel production by country in 1992 and in 2014. The presumed story is how steel production has shifted from country to country over those 22 years. Before anything else, readers must decipher the colors. This...

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A note to science journal editors: require better visuals

In reviewing a new small-scale study of the Moderna vaccine, I found this chart: This style of charts is quite common in scientific papers. And they are horrible. It irks me to think that some authors are forced to adopt such styles. The study's main goal is to compare two half doses to two full doses of the Moderna vaccine. (To understand the science, read the post on my book...

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