Eurostat, or the art of factoid growing

It saddens me to know that 23-year old Belgium girls are incapable of abstract reasoning, something that everyone in other parts of the world take for granted by the age of 12. That’s why we should praise Eurostat for its dumb-down, infographic-oriented approach to data dissemination. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you … Read more

Find the revolution

I have a challenge for you. The chart above displays the evolution of infant mortality rate in Portugal. The years in the x-axis are not labeled on purpose. In one of those years there was a left-wing revolution. Left-wingers say that a sharp decline in the infant death rate is one of the “conquests” of the revolution, while … Read more

Infographics vs. Data Visualization

People keep asking what the difference is between data visualization and infographics. Since I’m not completely satisfied with the available answers I thought I could return to the subject and write my own. First, you have to recognize  that you can’t compare them because they are not at the same level. Things get much simpler if … Read more

Aesthetics be damned

I’ll assume that you are not paid for your artistic skills. You’re a mere mortal in a corporate environment, trying to make sense of your data and making rational decisions if possible. You make charts all the time, but you don’t really know if this new “data visualization” is the same thing with a pompous name … Read more

That’s not data visualization

What is wheat and what is chaff? Here is a list to help you take sides: If you want to fit the data into the shape of real-world objects, that’s not data visualization; If you use more than one dimension to represent a data point, that’s not data visualization; If your project breaks basic perception … Read more

The data visualization – data art continuum

Data visualization is becoming a catch-all concept with little analytic usefulness. The infographic plague we have to endure is not helping. It doesn’t have to be that way. Stephen Few wrote recently about the distinction between data visualization (“the goal that data be visualized in a way that leads to understanding”) and data art (“visualizations … Read more

Why do people make bad charts? [POLL]

Let’s assume that a bad chart is a chart that breaks basic perceptual laws, contains too much fluff, do not respect data relationships and do not clearly answer the underlying question (if you can find one). Why do people make such charts? Below you can find some reasons. Check the ones you agree with. You … Read more

12 Data Visualization Questions I Have No Answers For

We stop loving someone or something when we feel there is nothing more to discover, when we have no more questions, when we don’t care about the answers. I started writing my Data Visualization for Excel Users series because I have an unhealthy number of open questions. I’d like to go beyond it depends but there … Read more

How many meters in a mile? Depends on resolution

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”] Here is an interesting technique: using two y-axis to display the same data at different resolutions. Yellow (BMI) and blue (Weight) lines should overlap (there is a one-to-one correspondence between BMI … Read more