Trifecta checkup

20 posts
Is the chart answering your question? Excavating the excremental growth map

San Franciscans are fed up with excremental growth. Understandably. Here is how the Economist sees it - geographically speaking. *** In the Trifecta Checkup analysis, one of the questions to ask is "What does the visual say?" and with respect to the question being asked. The question is how much has the problem of human waste in SF grew from 2011 to 2017. What does the visual say? The number...

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Two thousand five hundred ways to say the same thing

Wallethub published a credit card debt study, which includes the following map: Let's describe what's going on here. The map plots cities (N = 2,562) in the U.S. Each city is represented by a bubble. The color of the bubble ranges from purple to green, encoding the percentile ranking based on the amount of credit card debt that was paid down by consumers. Purple represents 1st percentile, the lowest amount...

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This map steals story-telling from the designer

Stolen drugs is a problem at federal VA hospitals according to the following map. *** Let's evaluate this map from a Trifecta Checkup perspective. VISUAL - Pass by a whisker. The chosen visual form of a map is standard for geographic data although the map snatches story-telling from our claws, just as people steal drugs from hospitals. Looking at the map, it's not clear what the message is. Is there...

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Fantastic visual, but the Google data need some pre-processing

Another entry in the Google Newslab data visualization project that caught my eye is the "How to Fix It" project, illustrating search queries across the world that asks "how." The project web page is here. The centerpiece of the project is an interactive graphic showing queries related to how to fix home appliances. Here is what it looks like in France (It's always instructive to think about how they would...

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Lines, gridlines, reference lines, regression lines, the works

This post is part 2 of an appreciation of the chart project by Google Newslab, advised by Alberto Cairo, on the gender and racial diversity of the newsroom. Part 1 can be read here. In the previous discussion, I left out the following scatter bubble plot. This plot is available in two versions, one for gender and one for race. The key question being asked is whether the leadership in...

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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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Governor of Maine wants a raise

In a Trifecta checkup, this map scores low on the Q corner: what is its purpose? What have readers learned about the salaries of state governors after looking at the map? (Link to original) The most obvious "insights" include: There are more Republican governors than Democratic governors Most Democratic governors are from the coastal states There is exactly one Independent governor Small states on the Eastern seaboard is messing up...

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A look at how the New York Times readers look at the others

The above chart, when it was unveiled at the end of November last year, got some mileage on my Twitter feed so it got some attention. A reader, Eric N., didn't like it at all, and I think he has a point. Here are several debatable design decisions. The chart uses an inverted axis. A tax cut (negative growth) is shown on the right while a tax increase is shown...

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Light entertainment: this looks like a bar chart

Long-time reader Daniel L. said this made him laugh. This prompted me revive a feature I used to run on here called "Light entertainment." Dataviz work that are so easy to ridicule that one wonders if they weren't just made for the laughs. See all previous installments here. Daniel also said it fails the Trifecta Checkup. What is the question the chart is addressing and what's the message? It's a...

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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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