Gridlines

100 posts
Who is a millennial? An example of handling uncertainty

I found this fascinating chart from CNBC, which attempts to nail down the definition of a millennial. It turns out everyone defines "millennials" differently. They found 23 different definitions. Some media outlets apply different definitions in different items. I appreciate this effort a lot. The design is thoughtful. In making this chart, the designer added the following guides: The text draws attention to the definition with the shortest range of...

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Does this chart tell the sordid tale of T1’s decline?

The Hustle has an interesting article on the demise of the T1 calculator, which is popular in business circles. The article uses this bar chart: From a Trifecta Checkup perspective, this is a Type DV chart. (See this guide to the Trifecta Checkup.) The chart addresses a nice question: is the T1 graphing calculator a victim of new technologies? The visual design is marred by the use of the calculator...

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The time of bird seeds and chart tuneups

The recent post about multi-national companies reminded me of an older post, in which I stepped through data table enhancements. Here is a video of the process. You can use any tool to implement the steps; even Excel is good enough.     The video is part of a series called "Data science: the Missing Pieces". In these episodes, I cover the parts of data science that are between the...

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Pulling the multi-national story out, step by step

Reader Aleksander B. found this Economist chart difficult to understand. Given the chart title, the reader is looking for a story about multinationals producing lower return on equity than local firms. The first item displayed indicates that multinationals out-performed local firms in the technology sector. The pie charts on the right column provide additional information about the share of each sector by the type of firms. Is there a correlation...

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Clarifying comparisons in censored cohort data: UK housing affordability

If you're pondering over the following chart for five minutes or more, don't be ashamed. I took longer than that. The chart accompanied a Financial Times article about inter-generational fairness in the U.K. To cut to the chase, a recently released study found that younger generations are spending substantially higher proportions of their incomes to pay for housing costs. The FT article is here (behind paywall). FT actually slightly modified...

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Clarifying comparisons in censored cohort data: UK housing affordability

If you're pondering over the following chart for five minutes or more, don't be ashamed. I took longer than that. The chart accompanied a Financial Times article about inter-generational fairness in the U.K. To cut to the chase, a recently released study found that younger generations are spending substantially higher proportions of their incomes to pay for housing costs. The FT article is here (behind paywall). FT actually slightly modified...

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Re-thinking a standard business chart of stock purchases and sales

Here is a typical business chart. A possible story here: institutional investors are generally buying AMD stock, except in Q3 2018. Let's give this chart a three-step treatment. STEP 1: The Basics Remove the data labels, which stand sideways awkwardly, and are redundant given the axis labels. If the audience includes people who want to take the underlying data, then supply a separate data table. It's easier to copy and...

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Re-thinking a standard business chart of stock purchases and sales

Here is a typical business chart. A possible story here: institutional investors are generally buying AMD stock, except in Q3 2018. Let's give this chart a three-step treatment. STEP 1: The Basics Remove the data labels, which stand sideways awkwardly, and are redundant given the axis labels. If the audience includes people who want to take the underlying data, then supply a separate data table. It's easier to copy and...

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This chart advises webpages to add more words

A reader sent me the following chart. In addition to the graphical glitch, I was asked about the study's methodology. I was able to trace the study back to this page. The study uses a line chart instead of the bar chart with axis not starting at zero. The line shows that web pages ranked higher by Google on the first page tend to have more words, i.e. longer content...

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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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