Data Viz Done Right

October 20, 2019

#MakeoverMonday: The Age at Which Most People Are Dying by Suicide Has Increased Over Time

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We're heading into the home stretch for #MakeoverMonday 2019. This week, I chose a visualization from the ONS about the age at which people commit suicide in the UK. I picked this data set for two primary reason:

  1. It's a simple data set.
  2. The original visualization is really good.

Let's have a look.


What Works Well?
  • The patterns are super intuitive to see and understand.
  • Amazing interactivity that allows you to look at an entire year without the overlap of the other years.
  • Nice annotations
  • Years and ages are in the appropriate order
  • Using the intensity of a single color to emphasize the number of suicides

What could be improved?
  • The number of axis ticks could be reduced to every five or ten years.

What I did
I thought I would try to build a horizon chart, but it became too complex and the data wasn't quite suited for it. I then built a series of area charts like the original, but without the overlap. It didn't look good; the original has nice rounded lines, whereas a Tableau area chart has sharp edges.

I tried line charts, small multiples, running totals, none of them worked. I ended up keeping it very simple and went with a heatmap that I think gets pretty close to the same analysis as the original.

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