line chart

32 posts
An exercise in decluttering

My friend Xan found the following chart by Pew hard to understand. Why is the chart so taxing to look at?  It's packing too much. I first notice the shaded areas. Shading usually signifies "look here". On this chart, the shading is highlighting the least important part of the data. Since the top line shows applicants and the bottom line admitted students, the shaded gap displays the rejections. The numbers...

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Nice example of visual story-telling in the FT

I came across this older chart in the Financial Times, which is a place to find some nice graphics: The key to success here is having a good story to tell. Blackpool is an outlier when it comes to improvement in life expectancy since 1993. Its average life expectancy has improved, but the magnitude of improvement lags other areas by quite a margin. The design then illustrates this story in...

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Five steps to let the young ones shine

Knife stabbings are in the news in the U.K. and the Economist has a quartet of charts to illustrate what's going on. I'm going to focus on the chart on the bottom right. This shows the trend in hospital admissions due to stabbings in England from 2000 to 2018. The three lines show all ages, and two specific age groups: under 16 and 16-18. The first edit I made was...

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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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Transforming the data to fit the message

A short time ago, there were reports that some theme-park goers were not happy about the latest price hike by Disney. One of these report, from the Washington Post (link), showed a chart that was intended to convey how much Disney park prices have outpaced inflation. Here is the chart: I had a lot of trouble processing this chart. The two lines are labeled "original price" and "in 2014 dollars"....

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GDPR: justice for data visualization

Reader LG found the following chart, tweeted by @EU_Justice. This chart is a part of a larger infographic, which is found here. The following points out a few issues with this effort: The time axis is quite embarrassing. The first six months or so are squeezed into less than half the axis while the distance between Nov and Dec is not the same as that between Dec and Jan. So...

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Labels, scales, controls, aggregation all in play

JB @barclaysdevries sent me the following BBC production over Twitter. He was not amused. This chart pushes a number of my hot buttons. First, I like to assume that readers don't need to be taught that 2007 and 2018 are examples of "Year". Second, starting an area chart away from zero is equally as bad as starting a bar chart not at zero! The area is distorted and does not...

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NYT hits the trifecta with this market correction chart

Yesterday, in the front page of the Business section, the New York Times published a pair of charts that perfectly captures the story of the ongoing turbulence in the stock market. Here is the first chart: Most market observers are very concerned about the S&P entering "correction" territory, which the industry arbitrarily defines as a drop of 10% or more from a peak. This corresponds to the shortest line on...

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Message-first visualization

Sneaky Pete via Twitter sent me the following chart, asking for guidance: This is a pretty standard dataset, frequently used in industry. It shows a breakdown of a company's profit by business unit, here classified by "state". The profit projection for the next year is measured on both absolute dollar terms and year-on-year growth. Since those two metrics have completely different scales, in both magnitude and unit, it is common...

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The French takes back cinema but can you see it?

I like independent cinema, and here are three French films that come to mind as I write this post: Delicatessen, The Class (Entre les murs), and 8 Women (8 femmes).  The French people are taking back cinema. Even though they purchased more tickets to U.S. movies than French movies, the gap has been narrowing in the last two decades. How do I know? It's the subject of this infographic:  How do I...

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