Highlighting data viz best practices around the web

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Steady Trend on Gay Marriage Views

Source: FiveThirtyEight
Author: Nate Silver

Best Practices:
  • Great titles and labelling
  • Gridlines aid in quantifying each point
  • Labelling the lines for opposing/supporting is a nice way to not need a colour legend
  • Simple scatter plot tells a great story of the change in views without an commentary needed
Recommended Enhancements:
  • Using red/blue for opposing/supporting can imply a connotation to Republican/Democrat, which may not be the case. An orange/blue colour palette would have been a better choice, for example.
  • It’s not clear what the line through the dots represents. It looks like it’s a bit hand-drawn, which leads me to believe it’s generally a best fit for the points on that date. Either way, it’s not a trend line, so it shouldn’t be included.
  • I don’t like the gray background they choose to use for their charts. I find it distracting and it’s makes it hard for me to see the dots.
  • A connected scatter plot might be an interesting view.

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