Data Viz Done Right

July 20, 2012

Maybe it’s Nielsen’s fan chart that is causing consumers to be less confident


Of course this chart isn’t the cause, but it did get me heated over its horrific design. 

I’m becoming convinced that Nielsen doesn’t particularly care about making good design decisions, and they apparently don’t particularly value my feedback either.  I can assure you, I’ve given them plenty.

Here’s an alternative that I threw together in Tableau

It’s important when creating a visualization that you design it in such a way that, amongst many other things, (1) the reader can see the whole story at a glance, and (2) they can interact for their own deeper analysis.  To accomplish this I:

  1. Started with maps (This is a global report with geographic data, which always leads me to start with a map)
  2. Made very specific color choices to emphasize the positives (blue) and the negatives (red)
  3. Added interactivity through highlighting
  4. Included a scatterplot to compare the change to the index
  5. Provided the option to filter by continent

Why is all of this important?

Because we need to know how consumers’ feeling are trending; a country could have a high index, but are headed down (e.g. India and China), or a country could have a low index and things are looking up (e.g., South Korea and France).  Those are two very different stories.

Imagine how the politicians could spin this information.  Click on the USA and you’ll see (when you hover over the circle that gets highlighted) that the United States is in trouble.  Their CCI is 87 and it has declined –5 points.  Uh oh!

I challenge you to deduce any of that from Nielsen’s fan chart.