Data Viz Done Right

November 17, 2017

America's Love Affair With Guns

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Having lived abroad for more than 2 years now has given me a certain perspective about the perception of guns in America. I can't think of anyone that I've met here in the UK that DOESN'T think Americans love their guns. People assume everyone in America has multiple guns in their house and they're dumbfounded as to why Americans would need them in the first place.

Another debate for another time.

I bring this up because I saw this really striking viz from Danne Woo, Founder of data.visual. I met Danne a few years ago when I was working at Facebook and we've stayed in contact since. I really like the work he and his team create.


I reached out to Danne because I wanted to recreate his chart in Tableau for practice. He gladly sent me the data and encouraged me to do so. I designed it slightly differently, while maintaining the thematic colors Danne chose.

What did I change?

  • I put the title in the form of a question.
  • I included a BAN for the total number of background checks to give the viz (and the problem) some overall scale.
  • I removed the gridlines (thanks to Jonathan MacDonald for that suggestion).
  • I made the white line thicker than the red line to make it stand out more.
  • I made the scale all the same number type. The original mixes K and M.

The best way to improve it to practice. Learning is never done.

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