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November 1, 2016

Makeagain Monday: Popping the Bubbles of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

I was discussing the makeovers of makeover I did last week and Megan Hunt told me that her mother calls Makeover Monday "Makeagain Monday", which got me thinking, maybe that should be the name for the series of posts I write where I makeover a Makeover Monday. So today, allow me to introduce you to Makeagain Monday.

The purpose isn't to pick on anyone. I use this as a teaching method. How can I take an existing visualisation and show I would improve and simplify it step-by-step. I only detail what I think doesn't work about the visualisation.

This week we looked at the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and Pablo Gomez create this visualisation (click on it for the interactive version):

What doesn't work?

  • Packed bubbles are basically impossible to compare
  • What does the size and color of the bubbles mean? 
  • Do the colors coordinate with the scatter plots? (The answer is no, but I didn't know that until I downloaded the workbook.)
  • What do the scatterplots add? They all basically look the same.
  • The massive image on the right takes up like 25% of the space. What does the flag mean?

With that, here's my step-by-step makeover as a gif. Click on the gif for my version on Tableau Public.


  1. Honestly, at first I was happy when I saw your tweet. Then, when reading your post, my point of view changed completely.
    I thought the idea behind MakeagainMonday was to reconstruct an existing dashboard and show how to do something in particular that no one else has done. But then I read the post and realised it's a critic to my dashboard your reconstruction shows "your point of view" of the data which is very different than mine.
    Though I joined late in the MakeoverMonday project, what I liked the most was that "there was not right or wrong" and everybody could express their interpretation of the same data (brilliant idea). With you "MakeagainMonday" you have change all that.
    MakeoverMonday has just turned out into "Do it the way VizWiz considers better".
    Since when an image occupying 25% of the dashboard is a problem? ... I have seen dashboards with images bigger than that and yet, no one says anything.
    I love MakeoverMonday but must admit I am really disappointed with your post above.

  2. Pablo,

    There are actual hard-coded biological ways out eyes and brain see and detect things. Do you agree?

  3. Pablo, you seem to be taking this very personally.

    The post here is a simple matter of constructive criticism, which, frankly, Makeover Monday is generally lacking, and sorely in need of, IMO.

    In this post, a very ineffective way to show data was taken down a path that tried to impart something more effective, while not entirely alienating all aspects of the original.

    I think it's a worthy goal, and I think it was done quite politely with positive intention.

    I would like to have seen deeper explanation perhaps, as a guide to learning, but this is definitely one of the nicer forms of criticism you're ever going to encounter :)