Data Viz Done Right

September 22, 2014

Monday Makeover: Foursquare Swarm Leaderboard

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As I do every day I arrive at work, I check-in with Swarm (Foursquare's check-in app). When you check-in, Swarm will often presents you with a leaderboard. Today's leaderboard looked like this:

Seems innocent enough, until you look at the numbers relative to the size of the bars. In the Swarm chart, the bars are definitely not proportional. For example, Russ has 18 check-ins, but it looks like he has more than half of my 38. Troy has 1, yet it looks like 25% of my check-ins.

If the bars are sized properly, the chart would look like this:

When the bars are the proper length, you get a much different view. I'm surprised that Foursquare would make such simple mistakes. Perhaps they are trying to force the text inside the bars and that's causing the problem. Whatever the reason, it shouldn't be done.

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