Variance

107 posts
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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Form and function: when academia takes on weed

I have a longer article on the sister blog about the research design of a study claiming 420 "cannabis" Day caused more road accident fatalities (link). The blog also has a discussion of the graphics used to present the analysis, which I'm excerpting here for dataviz fans. The original chart looks like this: The question being asked is whether April 20 is a special day when viewed against the backdrop...

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The Bumps come to the NBA, courtesy of 538

The team at 538 did a post-mortem of their in-season forecasts of NBA playoffs, using Bumps charts. These charts have a long history and can be traced back to Cambridge rowing. I featured them in these posts from a long time ago (link 1, link 2).  Here is the Bumps chart for the NBA West Conference showing all 15 teams, and their ranking by the 538 model throughout the season. ...

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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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The Economist on the Economist: must read now

A visual data journalist at the Economist takes a critical eye on charts published by the Economist (link). This is a must read! (Hat tip: Fernando) Here are some of my commentary on past Economist charts.

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Bar-density and pie-density plots for showing relative proportions

In my last post, I described a bar-density chart to show paired data of proportions with an 80/20-type rule. The following example illustrates that a small proportion of Youtubers generate a large proportion of views. Other examples of this type of data include: the top 10% of families own 75% of U.S. household wealth (link) the top 1% of artists earn 77% of recorded music income (link) Five percent of...

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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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Nice example of visual story-telling in the FT

I came across this older chart in the Financial Times, which is a place to find some nice graphics: The key to success here is having a good story to tell. Blackpool is an outlier when it comes to improvement in life expectancy since 1993. Its average life expectancy has improved, but the magnitude of improvement lags other areas by quite a margin. The design then illustrates this story in...

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Pretty circular things

National Geographic features this graphic illustrating migration into the U.S. from the 1850s to the present.   What to Like It's definitely eye-catching, and some readers will be enticed to spend time figuring out how to read this chart. The inset reveals that the chart is made up of little colored strips that mix together. This produces a pleasing effect of gradual color gradation. The white rings that separate decades...

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Check out the Lifespan of News project

Alberto Cairo introduces another one of his collaborations with Google, visualizing Google search data. We previously looked at other projects here. The latest project, designed by Schema, Axios, and Google News Initiative, tracks the trending of popular news stories over time and space, and it's a great example of making sense of a huge pile of data. The design team produced a sequence of graphics to illustrate the data. The...

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