Design principles for better charts: simplicity

How to create better charts? Search the web and you’ll find many specific advices, not always backed up by scientific evidence (can there be any?). Tufte’s advices are great for us, rational, positivist members of the human race, but what about those emotional poor fellows for whom a minimalistic chart is just a boring chart? … Read more

Charting tips 003: Consider your audience

Scatterplots are not used by the NY Times because readers simply can’t make sense of them. Don’t oversimplify, but don’t assume that your audience can read a complex chart. Know your audience, and if possible test your charts with a small sample. Know what they expect, deliver that and perhaps a little more. When adding … Read more

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 [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”][list]. Another one wants to know how much was exported to … Read more

How I won the Nobel Prize

Al Gore and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Why? Why Al Gore? Thousands of scientists have been warning about the climate change for years. Why not them? Because of his political weight? Of course, but not only that. Because he learned (the hard way) how to communicate … Read more

Design and information visualization: two worlds apart

Yes, I know about the Malofiej awards and the Society for News Design. Yes, I know that there are many many designers out there that really care about the data and use their skills to communicate effectively, sometimes with awesome results. Sacrificing data on the altar of Beauty But for many many more, data is … Read more

The "what-would-Tufte-say" syndrome

An alarming level of the “what-would-Tufte-say” syndrome can be found in this post and some of its comments discussing a New York Times’s infographic. This syndrome has some recognizable features like the extensive use of “chart junk”, “lie factor” or other terms and expressions coined by Tufte that reveal a somewhat misunderstanding or abusive usage … 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