October 21, 2016
Interesting @OECD chart on alcohol consumption. By country & trend. E.g Austrians drink twice as much as Italians pic.twitter.com/OOGYJ3BpAq— Paul Kirby (@paul1kirby) October 19, 2016
You might think "It's just a chart Andy, relax!" True. It's a chart. It's not changing the world or anything. There are several things that have me a bit upset:
- Paul Kirby calls the chart "interesting" and maybe the CONTENT is interesting, but the chart is terrible.
- He says "Austrians drink twice as much as Italians", a fact that is simply not true. They drink 61% more than Italians. You can't just spout facts like that.
- Paul is visiting professor at the London School of Economics. I can only assume that his students follow him on Twitter. When he tweets things like this, his student will assume that this is how charts should be made, which only proliferates the number of poor charts we'll continue to see.
- It's too dark overall. The dark red bars and dark bottles are hard to see against the blue background.
- The flags are unnecessary. What value do they add?
- The bottles are cute, but unnecessary decoration.
- The legend is in reverse order.
- Do the bottle extend beyond the bars or do they start from the same baseline?
- It has a weak title. What's the story?
October 19, 2016
With a cheeky use of the INDEX table calculation, this was quite straightforward. In the video below, you'll see that the middle of the charts aren't lined up. I fixed this by using the INDEX calc again. You can download the workbook to see how I got it to work.
October 17, 2016
I think this view helps show much better than my last version that gap between Clinton and Trump. I also included a sorting option so you can look at it from different perspectives.
October 16, 2016
Given that we're nearing the end of the election cycle (thank god!), we thought it would be a good time to see how the races are stacking up. First, let's look at the viz from Daily Kos:
What works well?
- The interactivity is amazing!
- Nice summary on the left
- The dots for the polls add nice context
- Simple and easy to understand
- Great overall design
- Great use of color
- I wish the most recent results would stay on the line chart as I hover over another date. Yes, I know they are on the left, but then my eyes have to move back and forth.
- I added a reference line on each state at 50% to help show if one of the candidates has more than half the vote.
- I included bar charts in the tooltips.
October 14, 2016
For the past few Tableau Conferences, members of the Tableau Community have come together for some early morning running. Last year, as you can see above, we had an incredible turnout and we expect this year to be much more of the same.
- When: 5:30am Mon, Tue, Wed
- Where: Four Seasons
- Distances: 5K and 10K (easy enough to make longer or shorter if you'd like)
Yes, a 5:30am start time is early, but in our experience, you HAVE TO start this early if you want time to make the keynotes. Running people are a weird bunch anyway, so 5:30 is never too early for us!
The run leaders will have high visibility bibs and torches for everyone's safety. If you have lights, bring them along. I've run these routes many times and it's a beautiful trail along the river. There are always tons of runners out and about.
NOTE: You may see a meetup list on the conference website, but it doesn't start until 6:30. If you go to that one, you have very, very little chance of making the keynotes. Plus, most of the runners will be at our run. And we'll be done before they even start!
Tableau has informed us that they will not be supporting us this year. However, keep up with the #RunData16 hashtag on Twitter for all of the latest information. See you in Austin!
October 11, 2016
October 9, 2016
Makeover Monday: How satisfied are people with public transportation in some of Europe's biggest cities?
I first saw this survey in print at Gatwick airport on my way to Prague, then it appeared in feedly. I know from speaking to John Burn-Murdoch that the print and online graphics standards are different. The print version I actually found easier to understand because it used blue for negative sentiment.
What works well?
- Clear sorting by very satisfied
- Sticks to their color guidelines
- Simple title
- Use different colours for the negative and positive sentiment
- Add an overall score (like net promoter score)
- Include 2012 for comparison so that you can see which of these cities improved
- Add a more descriptive title so it's even more clear what the audience is looking at
- Steve Wexler's post about Likert scales and Net Promoter Scores
- This Github page that has the official FT colors
- This knowledge base article for including barcharts in tooltips
Next, I included 2012 and labeled the bars where they fit.
I don't particularly like the labels on the bars, so I've removed them from the final version. I also changed the bars to a Likert scale, which moves the negative to the left and positive to the right, and helps shows the discrepancy better. I also included the net promoter score.
Last, I added a slope graph to help show the change and included a more descriptive title and subtitle. You can click on any bar and it'll highlight in both places.
October 7, 2016
What's even better is that Tableau Public will refresh this data daily, so we can look back and see how the storm has progressed.
October 6, 2016
This also got me thinking about the work by Stephanie Evergreen and her focus on effective, impactful titles. I recommend to people that when they are creating visualisations, assume the audience will see a static image. If they can't understand it, then it should be changed.
First, here's the visualisation that Emma created:
|Click for the interactive version|
There are a few things I would change:
- Give it a stronger title that explains the visualisation and the key message
- Only label the lines that are increasing
- Only show the magazine name on the left label to minimize the text
- Make the footer legible (brown on black is too hard to read)
If you do nothing else to improve a weak visualization, you’ll still seriously improve its interpretability by giving it an awesome title.I certainly wouldn't classify Emma's viz as weak, it merely could be more effective.
October 4, 2016
For this week’s tip, I go back to an old tip from 2001 and demonstrate how to use a parameter and a rank calculation to display the top N points on a line chart. It’s pretty straight forward and doesn’t require anything complicated. This method is definitely simpler than the original post, which used an INDEX table calculation.
I was reading through feedly this morning and saw this great viz by The Economist.
I really like this simplicity of the viz, yet the detail and insight it provides. In particular, I like the Gantt chart style they used to compare 2000 to 2013. One of the best way to learn is to recreate charts you find and like.
For my version, I used data from the CDC about motor vehicle deaths by state in the US. Overall I went with a similar Gantt bar style to compare the change in the years. I made these additional enhancements:
- Removed the line that makes them look like candlesticks
- Muted the gridlines
- Moved the labels next to the bars
- Colour-coded the bars to show whether each state has increased of decreased
- Moved the United States average to the top to make it easier to compare to
Which version do you prefer? What else would you do differently? You can click on the image below to download the workbook from Tableau Public.
October 3, 2016
- Nice interactivity and tooltips
- Good filtering capabilities that show additional information
- Good slider implementation to scroll through the years
- Dark red and dark green countries are very distinct, drawing my eye to the worst and best
- It’s impossible to get a sense of any trends over the years
- Using a filled map makes it very difficult to see smaller countries
- It’s hard to get a feel for the overall peacefulness of the world, i.e., what’s the global average?
- Color palette is hard for color-blind people and doesn’t supply enough range in colors
For my version, I used the text of the summary below their visualisation to help craft my story. Throughout this year, I’ve primarily been creating long vizzes, but I really like the many examples Andy C has created that are wide, so I thought I’d give that a go this week.
September 26, 2016
And thanks to FAOSTAT there is! Who knew?!? Their data set is accompanied by a series of chart. I'm going to focus on their map.
What works well?
- It's a map, so I can easily understand that it's show geographic distribution.
- Nice filtering capabilities
- The color scales don't make sense. Are they ranges? Are they precise values?
- There are a lot of yellow countries/ What does that mean?
- The blue water makes it hard for the blue shading on the map to stand out.
- The mapp wraps and repeats.
- Comparing countries on a filled map is nearly impossible. How does China compare to Holland? If you can't answer questions like that, then a filled map is not the answer.
September 19, 2016
Several people have recommended Makeover Monday for the Project of the Year in the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards, which I must admit is quite stunning and flattering at the same time. The suggestion for this week’s makeover came from Andy Cotgreave. We intentionally picked something from Information is Beautiful with the hope that it gets a bit more exposure. Shameless perhaps, but what can it hurt? This viz from David McCandless certainly deserves a makeover.
- The viz is eye-catching and definitely draws you in. There’s something to say for that.
- The interactivity is fantastic.
- Good filtering, colouring and sizing options
- The bubbles move all around for no apparent reason.
- There’s way too much overlapping, making it hard to identify any insights.
- Whether something is interesting is extremely subjective. I wouldn’t make these same choices.
- The viz doesn’t fit in a single view, requiring too much scrolling.
- Not all records are included. I guess this was done for artistic purposes as David is known to do, but it distorts the message.
|Click to view interactive version|
September 13, 2016
In this week’s tip, I look back at one of my most popular posts - 7 easy steps to create a combination chart with overlapping bars & a line. The tip hasn’t changed much, however, this time there’s a video.
September 12, 2016
What works well?
- It’s eye-catching and draws you in.
- The method for labelling ensures you only see the largest (as they names won’t fit otherwise).
- The color helps identify the largest companies.
What doesn’t work?
- Ranking is nearly impossible
- Are the depth of color and the size of the bubble for the same metric? The viz doesn’t tell us, so we’re left to guess.
- Is big good or bad?
- There’s no focus or context.
I started by changing it to a bar chart, but found that to be too boring, though effective. Then I saw an example by Shawn Levin which shows looks at the TEU per ship. That adds much more context to the visualisation. Shawn compared Total TEU to TEU per ship.
For me, I thought it was more meaningful to look at TEU per ship for both the total shipments and for the ships each company owns. This led me to the slope graph you see below which tells a much more meaningful story.
September 6, 2016
September 4, 2016
This week’s Makeover Monday subject was sent to me by incoming Data Schooler Anna Noble. Nothing like kissing up to the coach before you even start. 😋
The viz in question is from The Slow Journalism Company:
What works well?
- It’s obviously a timeline.
- It’s clearly about Alan Rickman.
What doesn’t work?
- It took me a while to figure out what the being on each side of the timeline meant.
- Horrific colour choices; apparently the colours identify the genre. You can see that in the microscopic font on the lower left.
- Colours with zig zagged lines are always a bad choice
- The pointy things
- The pie chart
- The annotations aren’t near the data they represent.
- You have to use the zoom feature to read anything.
- It makes me dizzy.
For my makeover, I wanted to do something very simple. This data set calls out for something simple and clear, especially after you spend time trying to understand the original. I have no idea who Alan Rickman is as I’ve never read any Harry Potter books nor seen the movies. Yes, I’m a terrible father! I once again used 100% floating objects to create this. I’m really loving the precise control that lets me have.
Click on the image for the interactive version (but really there’s no need as there nothing more to the live version other than a mobile view).
September 2, 2016
This week I challenged The Data Duo to a #VizOff of sorts. I provided them with a data set of 8.5M ozone level readings from stations spread all throughout the U.S. I started looking at this data a few weeks ago because I was thinking about the smog in Atlanta and wondering if it had gotten any better since I left. This led me to the master data set or all cities that are measured.
Once I started exploring the data, I noticed that Southern California consistently had the most cities with high ozone levels. So I filtered the data set down to the 25 worst cities.
This helped me focus on a single story with multiple parts, as seen in the long-form visualisation below. Enjoy!
August 30, 2016
In this week’s tip, I walk you through how to create a two-color Pareto chart, a dynamic title, and customised tooltips based on my recent Makeover Monday about U.S. companies hoarding money offshore.