time series

25 posts
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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Well-structured, interactive graphic about newsrooms

Today, I take a detailed look at one of the pieces that came out of an amazing collaboration between Alberto Cairo, and Google's News Lab. The work on diversity in U.S. newsrooms is published here. Alberto's introduction to this piece is here. The project addresses two questions: (a) gender diversity (representation of women) in U.S. newsrooms and (b) racial diversity (representation of white vs. non-white) in U.S. newsrooms. One of...

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Several problems with stacked bar charts, as demonstrated by a Delta chart designer

In the Trifecta Checkup (link), I like to see the Question and the Visual work well together. Sometimes, you have a nice message but you just pick the wrong Visual. An example is the following stacked column chart, used in an investor presentation by Delta. From what I can tell, the five types of aircraft are divided into RJ (regional jet) and others (perhaps, larger jets). With each of those...

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The tech world in which everyone is below average

Laura pointed me to an infographic about tech worker salaries in major tech hubs (link). What's wrong with this map? The box "Global average" is doubly false. It is not global, and it is not the average! The only non-American cities included in this survey are Toronto, Paris and London. The only city with average salary above the "Global average" is San Francisco Bay Area. Since the Bay Area does...

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Saying no thanks to a box of donuts

As I reported last week, the Department of Education for Delaware is running a survey on dashboard design. The survey link is here. One of the charts being evaluated is a box of donuts, as shown below: I have written before about the problem with donut charts (see here). A box of donuts is worse than one donut. Here, each donut references a school year. The composition by race/ethnicity of...

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Why line charts are better than area charts

I saw this chart on Business Insider recently: This links to Market Insider, where there is a tool to make different types of charts. Despite the huge drop depicted above, by last week, the Dow Jones index has recovered to the level at the start of 2018: The same chart can be made as an area chart (called a "mountain chart" by Market Insider). The painting of the area serves...

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Looking above the waist, dataviz style

I came across this chart on NYU's twitter feed.  Growth has indeed been impressive; the dataviz less so. Here's the problem with not starting the vertical scale of a column chart at zero: In a column chart, the heights of the columns should be proportional to the data. Here they are misaligned because an equal amount has been chopped off below 30,000 from all columns. The light purple that I...

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Two nice examples of interactivity

Janie on Twitter pointed me to this South China Morning Post graphic showing off the mighty train line just launched between north China and London (!) Scrolling down the page simulates the train ride from origin to destination. Pictures of key regions are shown on the left column, as well as some statistics and other related information. The interactivity has a clear purpose: facilitating cross-reference between two chart forms. The...

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A chart Hans Rosling would have loved

I came across this chart from the OurWorldinData website, and this one would make the late Hans Rosling very happy. If you went to Professor Rosling's talk, he was bitter that the amazing gains in public health, worldwide (but particularly in less developed nations) during the last few decades have been little noticed. This chart makes it clear: note especially the dramatic plunge in extreme poverty, rise in vaccinations, drop...

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Choosing the right metric reveals the story behind the subway mess in NYC

I forgot who sent this chart to me - it may have been a Twitter follower. The person complained that the following chart exaggerated how much trouble the New York mass transit system (MTA) has been facing in 2017, because of the choice of the vertical axis limits. This chart is vintage Excel, using Excel defaults. I find this style ugly and uninviting. But the chart does contain some good...

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