February 4, 2013
Improving the WSJ Historical U.S. Unemployment Rates heat map
In chapter 1 of Alberto Cairo’s book, The Functional Art, he presents this chart by the Wall Street Journal as an example of non-figurative graphics.
I was struck at first by the use of a red/green color palette (so many people use this to represent positive and negative situations). Then I realized that it need a bit more to really make it useful. I wanted to be able to:
- Understand the magnitudes of the rates
- Compare years
- Fix the color scheme
- Make the chart wider
Here’s what I created using the Tableau 8 (all of this can be done in 7). Does it answer my questions?