Variance

102 posts
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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This chart advises webpages to add more words

A reader sent me the following chart. In addition to the graphical glitch, I was asked about the study's methodology. I was able to trace the study back to this page. The study uses a line chart instead of the bar chart with axis not starting at zero. The line shows that web pages ranked higher by Google on the first page tend to have more words, i.e. longer content...

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Transforming the data to fit the message

A short time ago, there were reports that some theme-park goers were not happy about the latest price hike by Disney. One of these report, from the Washington Post (link), showed a chart that was intended to convey how much Disney park prices have outpaced inflation. Here is the chart: I had a lot of trouble processing this chart. The two lines are labeled "original price" and "in 2014 dollars"....

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Visual Exploration of Unemployment Data

The charts on unemployment data I put up last week are best viewed as a collection.  I have put them up on the (still in beta) JMP Public website. You can find the project here.  I believe that if you make an account, you can grab the underlying dataset.  

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What to make of the historically low unemployment rate

One of the amazing economic stories of the moment is the unemployment rate, which at around 4% has returned to the level last reached during the peak of the tech boom in 2000. The story is much more complex than it seems. I devoted a chapter of Numbersense (link) to explain how the government computes unemployment rates. The most important thing to realize is that an unemployment rate of 4...

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NYT hits the trifecta with this market correction chart

Yesterday, in the front page of the Business section, the New York Times published a pair of charts that perfectly captures the story of the ongoing turbulence in the stock market. Here is the first chart: Most market observers are very concerned about the S&P entering "correction" territory, which the industry arbitrarily defines as a drop of 10% or more from a peak. This corresponds to the shortest line on...

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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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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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