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February 3, 2015

Makeover Monday: There's a Reason It Seems like Everyone Is Always Staring at Their Smartphones

Jay Yarow of Business Insider wrote an article about how US adults are changing their media consumption.  The article included this chart:

The point of the chart is to show how the share of mobile time spent is increasing. But the design of the chart makes that insight difficult. Some of the problems include:
  • It's difficult to compare media platforms.
  • The data is a time series, yet Jay used bars, which in itself isn't bad, but lines are easier to read.
  • The title should emphasize the story more.
  • Mobile is the highlight of the story, but it doesn't stand out in the chart at all.
I was able to locate the source data from this article on and create the alternative below. I learned this style of highlighting the important pieces of the data at Cole Nussbaumer's great public workshop.

Create your own version. Download the data here and the Tableau workbook here.


  1. Hi Andy,
    This stuff is Awesome!
    It would be very helpful for all of us, if you can show us, how you have created these charts.

    1. Vinay, I provided the download link to the workbook so that you can look at it yourself.

  2. Hey Andy,
    The bar chart is wonderful. Can you show us how to create this bar chart step by step and remind us the things we need to pay attention?