Data Viz Done Right

April 28, 2019

#MakeoverMonday: Space Station Spacewalks

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For week 18, Eva chose this viz from NASA about spacewalks by Americans and Russians since December 1998.

Credit: NASA

What works well?

  1. The title provides a nice summary of the data.
  2. The stacked bar chart makes is easy to compare the US and Russia within a single year.
  3. The colors are easy to distinguish from each other.
  4. Since there is no axis, labeling the bars makes sense.

What could be improved?

  • The background image doesn't add any value and takes attention away from the chart.
  • It took me a minute to figure out which color went with which country. That should be more obvious.
  • Straighten the diagonal text for the years.

My Ideas

  • Consider other chart types: area chart, stacked area chart, barbell chart, line chart.
  • Consider other metrics like cumulative spacewalks or variance to some year.
  • Check the two country flags for their official colors.

In the end I went with a cumulative line chart with shading between the lines. I did this with a polygon. See this blog post from Rody Zakovich to learn how to create it. 

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