Trifecta checkup

37 posts
Tightening the bond between the message and the visual: hello stats-cats

The editors of ASA's Amstat News certainly got my attention, in a recent article on school counselling. A research team asked two questions. The first was HOW ARE YOU FELINE? Stats and cats. The pun got my attention and presumably also made others stop and wonder. The second question was HOW DO YOU REMEMBER FEELING while you were taking a college statistics course? Well, it's hard to imagine the average...

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Wayward legend takes sides in a chart of two sides, plus data woes

Reader Chris P. submitted the following graph, found on Axios: From a Trifecta Checkup perspective, the chart has a clear question: are consumers getting what they wanted to read in the news they are reading? Nevertheless, the chart is a visual mess, and the underlying data analytics fail to convince. So, it’s a Type DV chart. (See this overview of the Trifecta Checkup for the taxonomy.) *** The designer did...

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Morphing small multiples to investigate Sri Lanka’s religions

Earlier this month, the bombs in Sri Lanka led to some data graphics in the media, educating us on the religious tensions within the island nation. I like this effort by Reuters using small multiples to show which religions are represented in which districts of Sri Lanka (lifted from their twitter feed): The key to reading this map is the top legend. From there, you'll notice that many of the...

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A data graphic that solves a consumer problem

Saw this great little sign at Ippudo, the ramen shop, the other day: It's a great example of highly effective data visualization. The names on the board are sake brands.  The menu (a version of a data table) is the conventional way of displaying this information. The Question Customers are selecting a sake. They don't have a favorite, or don't recognize many of these brands. They know a bit about...

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How to describe really small chances

Reader Aleksander B. sent me to the following chart in the Daily Mail, with the note that "the usage of area/bubble chart in combination with bar alignment is not very useful." (link) One can't argue with that statement. This chart fails the self-sufficiency test: anyone reading the chart is reading the data printed on the right column, and does not gain anything from the visual elements (thus, the visual representation...

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Visualizing the 80/20 rule, with the bar-density plot

Through Twitter, Danny H. submitted the following chart that shows a tiny 0.3 percent of Youtube creators generate almost 40 percent of all viewing on the platform. He asks for ideas about how to present lop-sided data that follow the "80/20" rule. In the classic 80/20 rule, 20 percent of the units account for 80 percent of the data. The percentages vary, so long as the first number is small...

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Is the visual serving the question?

The following chart concerns California's bullet train project. Now, look at the bubble chart at the bottom. Here it is - with all the data except the first number removed: It is impossible to know how fast the four other train systems run after I removed the numbers. The only way a reader can comprehend this chart is to read the data inside the bubbles. This chart fails the "self-sufficiency...

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McKinsey thinks the data world needs more dataviz talent

Note about last week: While not blogging, I delivered four lectures on three topics over five days: one on the use of data analytics in marketing for a marketing class at Temple; two on the interplay of analytics and data visualization, at Yeshiva and a JMP Webinar; and one on how to live during the Data Revolution at NYU. This week, I'm back at blogging. McKinsey publishes a report confirming...

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Webinar Wednesday

I'm delivering a quick-fire Webinar this Wednesday on how to make impactful data graphics for communication and persuasion. Registration is free, at this link. *** In the meantime, I'm preparing a guest lecture for the Data Visualization class at Yeshiva University Sims School of Management. The goal of the lecture is to emphasize the importance of incorporating analytics into the data visualization process. Here is the lesson plan: Introduce the...

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Plotted performance guaranteed not to predict future performance

Kaiser Fung (Junkcharts, Principal Analytics Prep) finds a chart on French financial instruments conveys a misleading message on relative returns while failing to describe the relative risks.

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