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30 posts
Some Tufte basics brought to you by your favorite birds

Someone sent me this via Twitter, found on the Data is Beautiful reddit: The chart does not deliver on its promise: It's tough to know which birds like which seeds. The original chart was also provided in the reddit: I can see why someone would want to remake this visualization. Let's just apply some Tufte fixes to it, and see what happens. Our starting point is this: First, consider the...

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Two good charts can use better titles

NPR has this chart, which I like: It's a small multiples of bumps charts. Nice, clear labels. No unnecessary things like axis labels. Intuitive organization by Major Factor, Minor Factor, and Not a Factor. Above all, the data convey a strong, surprising, message - despite many high-profile gun violence incidents this year, some Democratic voters are actually much less likely to see guns as a "major factor" in deciding their...

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Common charting issues related to connecting lines, labels, sequencing

The following chart about "ranges and trends for digital marketing salaries" has some problems that appear in a great number of charts. The head tilt required to read the job titles. The order of the job titles is baffling. It's neither alphabetical nor by salary. The visual form suggests that we could see trends in salaries reading left-right, but the only information about trends is the year on year salary...

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Discoloring the chart to re-discover its plot

Today's chart comes from Pew Research Center, and the big question is why the colors? The data show the age distributions of people who believe different religions. It's a stacked bar chart, in which the ages have been grouped into the young (under 15), the old (60 plus) and everyone else. Five religions are afforded their own bars while "folk" religions are grouped as one, and so have "other" religions....

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Using a bardot chart for survey data

Aleks J. wasn't amused by the graphs included in Verge's report about user attitudes toward the major Web brands such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Let's use this one as an example: Survey respondents are asked to rate how much they like or dislike the products and services from each of six companies, on a five-point scale. There is a sixth category for "No opinion/Don't use." In making this set...

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The visual should be easier to read than your data

A reader sent this tip in some time ago and I lost track of who he/she is. This graphic looks deceptively complex. What's complex is not the underlying analysis. The design is complex and so the decoding is complex. The question of the graphic is a central concern of anyone who's retired: how long will one's savings last? There are two related metrics to describe the durability of the stash,...

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Fifty-nine intersections supporting forty dots of data

My friend Ray V. asked how this chart can be improved: Let's try to read this chart. The Economist is always the best at writing headlines, and this one is simple and to the point: the rich get richer. This is about inequality but not just inequality - the growth in inequality over time. Each country has four dots, divided into two pairs. From the legend, we learn that the...

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Sorting algorithms visualized with rainbow color palette

I bet you woke up this morning thinking, “I haven’t seen a good visualization of sorting algorithms in at least a week. I wish someone would get on that.” Well here you go. Wish granted. See also sorting algorithms explained with dance, books, and sound. And while we’re at it, don’t forget Mike Bostock’s visual essay on visualizing algorithms. [Thanks @SimStolz] Tags: sorting

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Three pies and a bar: serving visual goodness

If you are not sick of the Washington Post article about friends (not) letting friends join the other party, allow me to write yet another post on, gasp, that pie chart. And sorry to have kept reader Daniel L. waiting, as he pointed out, when submitting this chart to me, that he had tremendous difficulty understanding it:   This is not one pie but six pies on a platter. There...

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Lop-sided precincts, a visual exploration

In the last post, I discussed one of the charts in the very nice Washington Post feature, delving into polarizing American voters. See the post here. (Thanks again Daniel L.) Today's post is inspired by the following chart (I am  showing only the top of it - click here to see the entire chart): The chart plots each state as a separate row, so like most such charts, it is...

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