Chart redraw: Troops Vs. Cost (Time Magazine)

Time Magazine published a very boring combo dual-axes chart with a broken scale. Most of the time these charts beg for a connected scatterplot, so I made the one above. The original chart was something like this: I’m sorry, Time mag,  but my chart tells hands down a much more interesting story.

Bars and lines: méfiez-vous des morceaux choisis

So, this data visualization thing is new to you, but you already know enough to avoid basic mistakes (pies, 3D…). While playing with the data, you make these two charts: You already know that a bar chart helps you to compare data points, while a line chart is better at displaying trends, right? But you keep … Read more

Excel Charts meet William Playfair

William Playfair wheat prices Excel version

Are you sure you can recognize an Excel chart from miles away? I thought that too. Then I started playing with some data visualization historical milestones and now I’m not so sure. Trying to recreate these charts in Excel is a great way to improve your Excel skills and pay a humble tribute to the data … Read more

Focus + Context (a Bar Chart Is Not a Skyscraper)

Textures. 3D. Pie charts. Primary colors. Trends hidden behind labels. Backgrounds. Pie charts again. Clear signs of a bad chart, right? Right. It is so easy to spot a badly designed chart that you can use a computer to do it. Don’t waste your time. Let’s stop discussing the obviously wrong and start discussing the … Read more

Chart redesign: California majority party by county

Nathan asks us Can You Improve this Mediocre Statistical Graphic? Since there are only two series (two parties) with a obvious mirror effect, I would say it doesn’t make sense (from a chart economy point of view) to display both series. And since the 50% mark is relevant in election results, why shouldn’t we just … Read more

10 x 10 Tips to improve your (Excel or not) charts: column and bar charts

These are 10 basic tips for column and bar chart design: A column chart is not a skyline: if you can’t see the individual patterns, consider removing some series or create several smaller charts; If you are charting categorical data sort the columns; if there is more than one series, allow the user to sort … Read more