Simplicity

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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The Economist on the Economist: must read now

A visual data journalist at the Economist takes a critical eye on charts published by the Economist (link). This is a must read! (Hat tip: Fernando) Here are some of my commentary on past Economist charts.

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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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A second take on the rural-urban election chart

Yesterday, I looked at the following pictograms used by Business Insider in an article about the rural-urban divide in American politics: The layout of this diagram suggests that the comparison of 2010 to 2018 is a key purpose. The following alternate directly plots the change between 2010 and 2018, reducing the number of plots from 4 to 2. The 2018 results are emphasized. Then, for each party, there can be...

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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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The French takes back cinema but can you see it?

Kaiser Fung (JunkCharts, Principal Analytics Prep) finds a visual design that highlights the insights from data comparing ticket sales of U.S. movies versus French movies in France.

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No Latin honors for graphic design

This chart appeared on a recent issue of Princeton Alumni Weekly. If you read the sister blog, you'll be aware that at most universities in the United States, every student is above average! At Princeton,  47% of the graduating class earned "Latin" honors. The median student just missed graduating with honors so the honors graduate is just above average! The 47% number is actually lower than at some other peer...

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No Latin honors for graphic design

Kaiser Fung (Junkcharts, Principal Analytics Prep) explores the big shortcoming of pictograms, that they require readers to be bean-counters. The example comes from grade inflation data in the Ivy League.

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Made in France stereotypes

Kaiser Fung (JunkCharts, Principal Analytics Prep) shows how to use the Trifecta Checkup to identify weaknesses in data visualization, and also how to conceptualize good charts using the same framework. He uses an example inspired by a Made in France poster.

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Made in France stereotypes

France is on my mind lately, as I prepare to bring my dataviz seminar to Lyon in a couple of weeks.  (You can still register for the free seminar here.) The following Made in France poster brings out all the stereotypes of the French. (You can download the original PDF here.) It's a sankey diagram with so many flows that it screams "it's complicated!" This is an example of a...

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