Data Visualization

Data visualization blogs

The Scrollytelling Scourge

May 25, 2016
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The Scrollytelling Scourge

Scrollytelling is a common way of interacting with stories these days. Scroll down and the story unfolds! Except it’s often awkward, brittle, and gets in the way. The Age of Scrollytelling Scrolling is a funny thing. It was long considered something people rarely did, and many news organizations will still talk about stories being “above the … Continue reading The Scrollytelling Scourge

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A multidimensional graphic that holds a number of surprises, via NYT

May 24, 2016
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A multidimensional graphic that holds a number of surprises, via NYT

The New York Times has an eye-catching graphic illustrating the Amtrak crash last year near Philadelphia. The article is here. The various images associated with this article vary in the amount of contextual details offered to readers. This graphic provides...

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Row-Level Thinking vs. Cube Thinking

May 23, 2016
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Row-Level Thinking vs. Cube Thinking

Our mental model of a dataset changes the way we ask questions. One aspect of that is the shape of the data (long or wide); an equally important issue is whether we think of the data as a collection of rows of numbers that we can aggregate bottom-up, or as a complete dataset that we can slice top-down to ask … Continue reading Row-Level Thinking vs. Cube Thinking

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OpenVis 2016 Talk Videos and Pointers

May 18, 2016
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OpenVis 2016 Talk Videos and Pointers

The OpenVis Conference had another great selection of talks this year. Here is a list of my favorites, with talk videos and pointers to some additional materials. The conference venue was the IMAX theater of the Boston Aquarium, which was great. Not only was the huge screen and theater seating a definite plus, but the ticket also included … Continue reading OpenVis 2016 Talk Videos and Pointers

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The many-faced area chart is not usually your best choice

May 16, 2016
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The many-faced area chart is not usually your best choice

I found this chart about the exploding U.S. debt levels in ZeroHedge (link), sourced from Citibank. The top line story is pretty easy to see: total debt levels have almost reached the peak of the 1930s. (Ignore that dreadful labeling...

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New Edition of Designing the User Interface

May 16, 2016
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New Edition of Designing the User Interface

The 6th edition of Designing the User Interface just came out. This is one of the central books in HCI. This edition is also notable because it adds a lot of fresh blood to the list of authors. Ben Shneiderman published the first edition of the book in 1986. Since the third edition, Catherine Plaisant has been … Continue reading New Edition of Designing the User Interface

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Super-informative ping-pong graphic

May 11, 2016
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Super-informative ping-pong graphic

Via Twitter, Mike W. asked me to comment on this WSJ article about ping pong tables. According to the article, ping pong table sales track venture-capital deal flow: This chart is super-informative. I learned a lot from this chart, including:...

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MTurk IDs Are Not Anonymous

May 5, 2016
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MTurk IDs Are Not Anonymous

The worker IDs Amazon’s Mechanical Turk gives you may look pretty random and anonymous, but they can reveal personally-identifiable information. They need to be removed from datasets, especially when they are shared or published. Like many things, I learned this the hard way. Or I would have, had Steve Haroz not caught it in the data … Continue reading MTurk IDs Are Not Anonymous

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3D Bar Charts Considered Not That Harmful

May 3, 2016
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3D Bar Charts Considered Not That Harmful

We’ve turned the understanding of charts into formulas instead of encouraging people to think and ask questions. That doesn’t produce better charts, it just gives people ways of feeling superior by parroting something about chart junk or 3D being bad. There is little to no research to back these things up. The Trivapro 3D Bar Chart This 3D … Continue reading 3D Bar Charts Considered Not That Harmful

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The surprising impact of mixing chart forms

May 3, 2016
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The surprising impact of mixing chart forms

At first glance, this Wall Street Journal chart seems unlikely to impress as it breaks a number of "rules of thumb" frequently espoused by dataviz experts. The inconsistency of mixing a line chart and a dot plot. The overplotting of...

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