The same data, the same map, different stories

Thematic map us states poverty percentage same number of states

Choropleth maps are the pie charts of cartography. Both can show us a simple pattern, but that’s a very low starting point. And both have severe perceptual issues. One of the issues with maps is how to define classes. Gregor published last Friday an interesting post and I wanted to play with the same data, percentage of … Read more

Why do people make so many bad charts?

I refuse to believe that a moderately clever person makes a 3D chart to get better insights from the data. The real reasons behind this behavior have nothing to do with data visualization, and impression management is one of them. Maybe this can be confirmed by research on basic needs, like eating. Wired published this … Read more

Data Visualization Bimbos

Do you know that, according to Amazon, Tufte’s Envisioning Information is a best seller book in Design and Decorative Arts? This man fights all his life against decoration and one of his best books ends up on the Decorative Arts category? Life (or Amazon) does have a twisted sense of humor. Unless… Unless Amazon is plotting … Read more

Change Bad Charts in the Wikipedia

Corporate annual reports and the Wikipedia are two great resources to find really bad charts. We can’t do much about corporate reports, but we can actually change the Wikipedia articles. So, here is an assignment for you: find a bad chart and replace it with one that actually makes sense from a data visualization point … Read more

Too Many Tools, Too Much Grammar, Too Little Sense

If you want to improve your data visualization skills you should think of it as a foreign language, where you use data points instead of words, charts instead of sentences, dashboards instead of paragraphs, axis and labels instead of punctuation marks. It has its own grammar, created by Bertin and improved by Tufte, Few, Cleveland … Read more

Don’t Make me Think (About Your Charts)!

I’d love to make my broken English more Tufte-compliant. I’d love to make the design of more Tufte-compliant. I’d love to make my home office, my lifestyle, my… you’ve got the point. It should be easy: here is a framework I am comfortable with, now I just need to translate it. It isn’t. I’m … Read more

Data Visualization Hierarchy of Needs

Data visualization hierarchy of needs

Is it possible to create a “data visualization hierarchy of needs” like Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs? I’ve tried that in the pyramid above. Here are the details: Is it the right Medium? A chart can really help processing data and minimize information overload, but what about “chart overload”? Don’t make a chart if you … Read more

Anatomy of a Bad Chart

We often learn a lot more from bad examples than from the good ones. So, here is a really bad one (you can find many examples like this in corporate annual reports…). So, what’s wrong here? What do they want to say? If you don’t know what to say, you probably should keep your mouth … Read more