Data Viz Done Right

September 10, 2019

#MakeoverMonday: Alex Cross vs. Women's Murder Club

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I saw a data set (I don't recall where from) about library checkouts at Seattle public libraries and thought it would be a fun data set to play with. The original viz that I wanted everyone to makeover was about Jane Austen, but the checkouts for Jane Austen books was pretty sparse.

I thought about James Patterson, an author I used to read quite often and is extremely popular. This has provided something worth vizzing.

Before I get to that, let's look at the original:


What works well?
  • The timeline is in sequential order.
  • The dark background lets the dots pop out.
  • The colors are easy to distinguish.
  • Simple title and subtitle.

What could be improved?
  • The y-axis is missing.
  • The dots are double encoded by size and position on the y-axis.
  • Google trends are included for some reason.
  • The legend could be simplified.

What I did
I wanted to look at seasonality and trends for each of the books. I got nowhere really quickly. I struggled and struggled with ideas and ended up not having enough time to finish on Monday.

In the end, I decided to take some inspiration from Workout Wednesday week 10 2018. I also chose to focus on only two book series: Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club. Why? Because those are the two series of his books that I read the most. The color theme comes from James Patterson's official website.

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