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November 20, 2017

Makeover Monday: Snapchat is tops with American teens

I have three teens, so this week's dataset had me particularly curious. While my daughter prefers Snapchat, my boys prefer Twitter. One big missing piece with this dataset is the lack of demographic information. I'm curious as to how my teens compare to those surveyed.

The original viz comes to us from Business Insider:

What works well?

  • Catchy title that quickly tells the story of the viz
  • Bar charts are simple to understand and they show the pattern well
  • Sorting the apps by the most recent value
  • Including the axis, otherwise we wouldn't know what the labels mean on the top of the bars

What could be improved?

  • The fading colors across the time periods are unnecessary. Include a time axis instead.
  • Change the numbers above each bar to percentages
  • The color legend doesn't match any of the bar charts and should be removed.

My Ideas

I started by looking at slope graph comparing the starting and ending periods.

This tells the story simply, but also doesn't show enough of the change over time. Next, I took the original and turned it into a line chart, labeling only the start and the end and also changing the colors to match the official colors of each app.

I think the line charts help make the change and trends much more obvious than the bar charts in the original. From there, I decided to look at the change since the starting period (spring 2015) to make the growth or decline of each app easier to understand. And with that, here's my Makeover Monday week 47.


  1. Maths, maths, maths... 11% to 47% is not necessarily a 36% increase. It also may be a 327% increase.
    Then Instagram is -17%, Facebook is -25%, and Twitter is -37%. That's quite another story: Facebook has a greater drop than Instagram and SnapChat has a meteoric rise.

    1. You're answering a different question. You're indicating the percent change of percentages. I'm indicating the difference. Two very different things.

    2. Indeed. I'm just not sure that "Snapchat has seen a 37% increase" is an accurate statement. And I don't know how I'd say it differently to keep your original meaning.

    3. Something like +36 %-P (Points) would help next to the bar chart to make it clear I assume