Chart Design: Abortion Ratios 1980-2003

Source: U.S. Census Bureau (original Excel file). The abortion ratio is defined by the number of abortions per 1,000 abortions and live births. (Click to enlarge) Notes: 1. We know that information visualization is all about pattern detection. But often our design choices hide relevant patterns behind the obvious one(s). Take this panel, for instance. … Read more

10 x 10 tips to improve your (Excel or not) charts: Line charts

Following the 10 x 10 post series on tips for better charts, these are the 10 tips for line charts: Don’t use line markers unless you really need them to identify b&w printed charts; Don’t use a legend; directly label the series, instead; If you can’t easily see the pattern of each series you may … Read more

A line chart in Crystal Xcelsius: how difficult can it be?

Can Crystal Xcelsius replace Excel as a charting tool? As the regular readers know, I am creating an Xcelsius version of my Excel Demographic Dashboard to answer this simple question. I am afraid the results until now are less than stellar. Although I could easily add four gauges with the four main demographic KPI, I … Read more

Sparklines, Excel, Crystal Xcelsius and stealth-mode charts

You struggle every single day to design the best, the most eye-catching chart for the next presentation. If your goal is to impress your boss, you can stop reading, I have nothing new to offer, I can’t even impress mine. But if you really want to understand your data, there is some (hopefully) interesting stuff … Read more

Visualizing change with Stephen Few

Well, I must say I am a bit disappointed with the September issue of Stephen Few’s Visual Business Intelligence Newsletter. It discusses an important but much neglected topic, visualizing change through animation. Few’s paper was written for SAS Institute, and uses JMP, a statistical analysis product from them. From the screenshots, I wouldn’t say I … Read more