Weblogs

40 posts
Too much of a good thing

Several of us discussed this data visualization over twitter last week. The dataviz by Aero Data Lab is called “A Bird’s Eye View of Pharmaceutical Research and Development”. There is a separate discussion on STAT News. Here is the top section of the chart: We faced a number of hurdles in understanding this chart as there is so much going on. The size of the shapes is perhaps the first...

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What is a bad chart?

In the recent issue of Madolyn Smith’s Conversations with Data newsletter hosted by DataJournalism.com, she discusses “bad charts,” featuring submissions from several dataviz bloggers, including myself. What is a “bad chart”? Based on this collection of curated "bad charts", it is not easy to nail down “bad-ness”. The common theme is the mismatch between the message intended by the designer and the message received by the reader, a classic error...

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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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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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The merry-go-round of investment bankers

Here is the start of my blog post about the chart I teased the other day:   Today's post deals with the following chart, which appeared recently at Business Insider (hat tip: my sister). It's immediately obvious that this chart requires a heroic effort to decipher. The question shown in the chart title "How many senior investment bankers left their firms?" is the easiest to answer, as the designer places the number...

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Environmental science can use better graphics

Mike A. pointed me to two animated maps made by Caltech researchers published in LiveScience (here). The first map animation shows the rise and fall of water levels in a part of California over time. It's an impressive feat of stitching together satellite images. Click here to play the video. The animation grabs your attention. I'm not convinced by the right side of the color scale in which the white...

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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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Light entertainment: I am a pen and I object

You've got to look out for conflicts on your dataviz! Example from Explosm courtesy of reader Chris P. Color says one thing. Face says something else. Words agree with Color. Pen objects.

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Playfulness in data visualization

The Newslab project takes aggregate data from Google's various services and finds imaginative ways to enliven the data. The Beautiful in English project makes a strong case for adding playfulness to your data visualization. The data came from Google Translate. The authors look at 10 languages, and the top 10 words users ask to translate from those languages into English. The first chart focuses on the most popular word for...

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Discoloring the chart to re-discover its plot

Today's chart comes from Pew Research Center, and the big question is why the colors? The data show the age distributions of people who believe different religions. It's a stacked bar chart, in which the ages have been grouped into the young (under 15), the old (60 plus) and everyone else. Five religions are afforded their own bars while "folk" religions are grouped as one, and so have "other" religions....

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