The Process

12 posts
✚ Data Graphics Workflow

As I worked on a wide range of charts recently, I got to thinking about workflow. How does one get from dataset to finished data graphic? This is my process. Read More

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✚ No Data, Chart Dies

If the charts themselves are fairly straightforward without any dubious design choices, are you still "lying with charts" when only the data itself was manipulated? Read More

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✚ This is Misleading, This is Not Really Misleading

There's an internet joke — Godwin's Law — that says if an internet discussion goes long enough, the probability that someone mentions Hitler approaches a probability of 1. The visualization equivalent, which I hereby declare as Yau's Law, is the following: If a discussion about a chart goes long enough, the probability that someone claims the chart is misleading approaches 1. It doesn't matter how well-designed, how thorough, or how...

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✚ Practicing with a Visualization Toolbox, Tools and Additional Resources Roundup – September 2018

I hope that if you're trying to learn how to work with data that you make time to fiddle with the toys in your growing toolbox. Otherwise, you just have a bunch of bookmarks and no new skills. (You know, like numchuk skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills...) Here are some things you can do to hone your skills. Read More

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✚ Chart Components and Working On Your Graphics Piece-wise

Before you can form a set of steps to visualize data, you need to know the components of a chart that you can separate. Like making an outline for an essay, you look for sections that make sense rather than define how many periods and question marks you need to show. Once you can form that data graphics outline, that complex visualization project doesn't seem so daunting. Read More

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✚ Google Dataset Search Impressions, the Challenges of Looking for Data, and Other Places to Find Data

Google released Dataset Search to the world last week. Some asked for my thoughts on the new tool, and as you know, ask and you shall receive. Plus, finding, gathering, and curating data is often the most tedious and time-consuming part of a visualization project. So anything to speed up the collection process is worth a look. Read More

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✚ Make It Mean Something or It Didn’t Happen

Visualization as template-filling content is lazy visualization that no one draws benefit from. Give people a reason to care. Read More

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✚ Better than Default

Defaults are generalizations to fit many datasets, which means you usually get barebone charts. For analysis, all well and good. However, data graphics for presentation require more care after the initial output. Read More

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✚ Charting Pitfalls, Flexible Guidelines, Exceptions to the Rules

Don't use this chart type. That's misleading. Make sure to only use this color scheme. That takes too long to interpret. Use this scale to show that thing. Sometimes it seems like there are so many visualization pitfalls, rules, and guidelines — often conflicting depending on who you ask — that it can be hard to keep track. Read More

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✚ Visualization Away from the Computer, Developing Ideas, Bring in the Constraints

Made-by-hand visualization has been making a mini comeback as of late, and it’s been fun to see what people do with data away from the computer. Of course, we don’t have the time to draw every chart and map by hand, but there are some parts of the practice we can use in our own work. Read More

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