The process: from questions to visual answers

Data cannot save us from ourselves

Clay Johnson, author of The Information Diet wrote on Twitter: Redistricting should be done with data & open source software, not by humans. Let me be completely honest: I don't like golden calves and I can spot two in this single sentence: technology and data. Yes, redistricting should be done with data and technology, but the moment you add "not by [...]

By | February 22nd, 2012|06 Discovery, analysis and communication, Data|2 Comments

Data Visualization for Excel Users – How to Make a Chart, Part I: Asking Questions

A new page is available in my tutorial "Data visualization for Excel Users". It's the first page of a mini series on how to make a chart and we'll learn how to ask questions and what type of questions we should ask.

By | January 30th, 2012|06 Discovery, analysis and communication, Design|Comments Off on Data Visualization for Excel Users – How to Make a Chart, Part I: Asking Questions

Is Your Chart Really Answering Your Question?

We are so busy creating sexy charts to illustrate some random data that we often forget to check if our chart really answers the question. Heck, most of the times we don't even have one. Chart first, ask questions later. One of the major differences between tables and charts is this: a tables says "here is your data, now go [...]

By | November 24th, 2008|06 Discovery, analysis and communication, Design|2 Comments

Chart-Making: Cures for Loss Aversion

Loss aversion - wrong chart example JunkCharts writes an interesting post on how loss aversion can happen in chart-making. The general concept of loss aversion tells us that "people strongly prefer avoiding losses than acquiring gains". Translated to chart-making, it means that there is a "tendency to avoid losing data at any cost". "To clarify, add detail" says Tufte. Corollary: [...]

By | September 16th, 2008|06 Discovery, analysis and communication, Design|7 Comments

You want answers, but do you have questions?

A chart is always an answer to an underlying question. If you don't know the question be prepared for random answers (300-slide Powerpoint presentations, anyone?). Do yourself a favor and and write down the questions that define your project. Group them meaningfully and use them as chart titles. Each chart may prove irrelevant or force new questions. Write them down. [...]

Charting tips 002: Consider the task at hand

Suppose you are sharing a list of orders with some co-workers. One of them wants to see the higher sales orders [list]. Another one wants to know how much was exported to France [fusion_old_table]. The next one needs the average items per order [descriptive statistics]. You want to see the growth trend for several products [chart]. Only one of the [...]

By | November 2nd, 2007|06 Discovery, analysis and communication, Design|8 Comments