Data Viz Done Right

April 30, 2018

Makeover Monday: Annual Change in American Bee Colonies

2 comments
This week Makeover Monday is collaboration with #VizForSocialGood to analyze bee colonies in America. The data and visualization come from Bee Informed.


What works well?


  • When you hover over a state, the value is indicated on the color legend.
  • Informative tooltips
  • Good filtering capabilities to customize the view
  • Very responsive tooltips
  • Displaying the states and territories outside the continental US separately

What could be improved?

  • A diverging color scale is typically used to indicate positive and negative values. In this case, all values are positive.
  • If you do want to use a diverging palette, the colors should merge at the median.
  • A filled map makes smaller state difficult to compare to larger states.
  • There's no sense of the change over time. Are colonies increasing or decreasing?

My Goals

  • Create small multiple maps that show each year
  • Make the story about the change, rather than the specific values
  • Use highlight actions to make it easy to see a state across all maps
  • Incorporate the total annual loss into the tooltip

2 comments :

  1. This is interesting work, though I find the labeling confusing. If yellow is an increase and red is a decrease, why do all the hovers have "Total Annual Bee Population Loss" as a metric with positive value?
    Furthermore, the bar chart is showing population loss as a positive number, and gain as a negative number. I understand to a certain extent what you mean (the negative is the opposite of loss, the dashboard is about loss) but it's still confusing.
    Lastly, if I want to see the overall bar trend for a state, I have to hover over the state in one of the maps - it doesn't stick. This negates the efficacy of the hover-function in the bar chart.

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    Replies
    1. The hover was meant to represent the additional data that is available in the original. The numbers in the tooltip represent the values for each hexagon. I was worried including the Total Annual Bee Population Loss in the tooltip might be confusing, and it looks like it was. Thanks for confirming I wasn't clear. I should have left it out as my instinct told me to.

      As for the bar trend, if you click on a state, the bar chart sticks.

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