Data Viz Done Right

January 18, 2016

Makeover Monday: Are Consumers Bored With Technology?

For week 3 of Makeover Monday, I challenged Andy Cotgreave to not only makeover this graphic below, but also to use only greyscale colours. Let's start by looking at the graph/chart/infographic in question:

This chart is so bad, it's tough to know where to start. Let's start with what works well:

  • There's a clear title and subtitle that tell us what the chart is about.
  • While I don't use icons often, their use of icons for each type of technology might aid some people in understanding, though I suspect they add them more for decoration.
  • There's a clear order to the donuts, from highest to lowest based on the 2016 purchase rate.
  • The font is consistent throughout the graph.
  • They fit a lot of information in a small space.

Let's now consider what could be improved:
  • The use of donut charts makes comparing the technologies more difficult than necessary.
  • They used sized bubbles for negatives and positives. Really bad idea because this might make people think -1% is the same as +1%.
  • Using bubbles to represent 2015 makes comparing 2015 values really difficult as you have to do the math in your head. Quick, which technology ranks third for 2015?
  • It's harder than necessary to compare 2015 to 2016 for each technology.
  • The red/green bubbles will be challenging for the red/green colour-blind folks.

With these problems in consideration, I've created this alternative version. This took only about 15 minutes to create and 15 minutes to tidy up and organize. Click on the image to view the interactive version and to download the workbook.

In this view, I've focused on the change between 2016 and 2015 in both views. The slope graph on the left helps you see the ranking of each technology in each year and allows you to compare see the year over year change. The bar chart on the right shows only the year over year change, sorted in descending order by the change, whereas the original version ordered them by the purchase intent rate.

Both graphs use the same colour scale: black for an increase, grey for a decrease. I had considered using a diverging scale, but I didn't thought that it made the distinction between positive and negative growth too difficult to understand.

My initial idea was this bikini chart, but it has the major problem of making comparisons between 2016 and 2015 nearly impossible. It also only allows me to sort by one of the years. I wanted to include it in this post, though, so you could get some other ideas.


  1. Hi Andy,

    First of all great job! Looks great. I have an question though. How do you get the bars stacked against each other like that? Do you know what it is called or can refer me to an tutorial to make it look the same way?

    Best regards,

    Ali A

    1. You can download the workbook by clicking on the image. From there, you'll see the dashboard where I created this. Basically, I make 2015 negative so it draws left and then set the number format to always be positive. I'll add this as a Tableau Tip Tuesday video.

    2. Thank you!

      Looking forward to the video.