Data Viz Done Right

September 12, 2016

Makeover Monday: Which shipping company really makes the most money?

This week’s Makeover Monday looks at the largest shipping container companies of 2016. The article includes this packed bubble chart:

What works well?

  • It’s eye-catching and draws you in.
  • The method for labelling ensures you only see the largest (as they names won’t fit otherwise).
  • The color helps identify the largest companies.

What doesn’t work?

  • Ranking is nearly impossible
  • Are the depth of color and the size of the bubble for the same metric? The viz doesn’t tell us, so we’re left to guess.
  • Is big good or bad?
  • There’s no focus or context.

I started by changing it to a bar chart, but found that to be too boring, though effective. Then I saw an example by Shawn Levin which shows looks at the TEU per ship. That adds much more context to the visualisation. Shawn compared Total TEU to TEU per ship.

For me, I thought it was more meaningful to look at TEU per ship for both the total shipments and for the ships each company owns. This led me to the slope graph you see below which tells a much more meaningful story.