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Chris Moore
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It's a great write up, and I think that the proposed change is terrific. I do have a question - why have you gone from the bottom right corner rather than the bottom left? This isn't a criticism; I'm just curious. One observation that I'd make is that the areas don't actually need to be square, to my mind. That is, as long as the proportions remain the same, then rectangles are as comparable as squares (especially given the subject matter). The reason for which I mention this is that your design suffers where the data are very close to each other. Were you to use, say, international paper size proportions instead, then you'd have more room for data labels and more visible differentiation. The bar chart is nice enough, but it veers towards presenting the numbers accurately at the expense of presenting the information accessibly. Incidentally, I just realised that this was originally posted more than a fortnight ago and that I am unfashionably late to the party. But hey, at least I've been keeping myself busy.
I love the elegant simplicity of this; the graph's great, and a descriptive title means that the visualisation can be kept really clean. I do agree with spindoctors' comment; two axes implies two scales, so it would help to make it clearer one way or another that the numbers are different representations of the same scale. I would also be inclined to visually differentiate the rate of change line and the magnitude line more than just having them as different colours. Thanks very much for the insightful roundup.
Sure, but your reasons for choosing these three different-sized buckets particularly remain unclear - you seem keen to highlight the states that perform well, but that's not the intent of the original map (illustrating widespread high levels of child food insecurity in the US). And I consequently have more confidence in the original map (with all its flaws) than your revision. Without any benchmarks to go by (would WHO consider any of these states to be in crisis, for example?), I would likely find a heat map more revealing. Nevertheless, I remain an avid reader and shall look forward to being properly enlightened on this topic at a later date.
Toggle Commented Dec 9, 2013 on The importance of a proper scale at Junk Charts
Oops, just realised that you've not put Wyoming and South Dakota in separate groups - my bad. Looked at the scaling rather than the map.
Toggle Commented Dec 9, 2013 on The importance of a proper scale at Junk Charts
I completely agree with the broad criticisms of the original chart, but I don't really see the point of having arbitrarily-scaled buckets rather than a linear scale. Look at where you've put the split for the lowest group, for example - 18% is right after one of the largest "jumps" in the series, and you're consequently putting Wyoming (18.0%) and South Dakota (18.3%) in separate groups. Why 18% and not 17.5%? If there isn't a rationale behind a non-linear scale (for example, if specific percentages were considered "tipping points" of some kind or another), and you're edging into manipulating the data to convey a specific message rather than letting the data speak for itself. The whole thing would be better done as a heat map, in any case - as far as I can see, there's no real purpose to any sort of bucketing or categorisation for this data set.
Toggle Commented Dec 9, 2013 on The importance of a proper scale at Junk Charts
I don't think that the tiltedness in itself is a big problem. That is, I think that human beings are well enough able to parse the isometric layout for it to be a legit way to lay out the information, and it's easy enough on the eye. If your graph were laid out in the isometric layout, then there'd be no problem at all. I'm more troubled about the bottom graphs. The line graph would be absolutely fine if the labels weren't arranged to be perpendicular to the page. As it’s done here, you’re encouraged to interpret the lines as coming out of the graph as well, and then you’ve lost your ability to interpret the data. The stacked column chart is…a bit odd. Again, there’s nothing wrong with presenting the data this way, in my view, but there are a few simple and obvious things that could be done to make it easier to follow. Anyway, my point is this – if the chart is essentially good, then the isometry shouldn’t be a problem. There are a few easy-to-fix data visualisation errors and some basic execution errors here that make the whole thing a bit of a chore to look at. But I’ve got to say that I would enjoy looking at this if the execution were better.
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2013 on Involuntary head tilt at Junk Charts
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Nov 25, 2013