Data Viz Done Right

March 3, 2010

I almost got sick

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This morning, I was on a conference call and someone presented this chart (I've changed the data and the data reviewed to keep me from getting in trouble, but the format of the chart remains intact).

Some of the issues I see:
  • Of course, the 3D perspective. BARF!
  • The data labels on the bars...Are they really necessary to communicate the message?
  • The background color choice gives me the impression I'm somewhere deep in space with all of that black.
  • Stop-light colors. We all understand why people use stop light colors, but this doesn't work for those that are color blind.
  • The cylinders. A flat bar is always a better choice.
  • The angle of the chart leads you to believe the height of the bars is different, when in fact, they're all the same height.
I could go on and on.

Here are some options:

However, given the small set of data, would a simple table be best? Really all I care about are the problems. None of the charts above give that "pop." What would I do? I would create two tables.

First, the raw values.

Second, the percent of the total for each claim type.

Does anything stand out to you in these tables?

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