Highlighting data viz best practices around the web

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ohio State’s Season Was A Crazy Outlier

Source: FiveThirtyEight
Author: Andrew Flowers
Best Practices:
  • Excellent use of color
  • Clear title, subtitle, and axis labels
  • Square size, which is perfect for a scatterplot
  • Making the zero line bolder than the other axis lines
  • Good use of annotations only where needed
Recommended Enhancements:
  • Remove the gray background on the image, though I realize that’s the FiveThirtyEight style

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Crisis in A&E?

Source: The Information Lab
Author: Chris Love

Click on the image to go to the interactive version.


Best Practices:
  • Engaging
  • Nicely broken into sections
  • Excellent use of color
  • Descriptions that add all of the context needed
  • Beautiful design
  • Really good storytelling: there's a clear beginning, middle and end
  • Nice scalpel metaphor in the Weather Related section
Recommended Enhancements:
  • In the "Weather Related" section, the filter labels are cut off
  • Make the Weather Related section shorter so it fits in a single screen
  • Shouldn't mix red & green lines in the "Increased Demand?" section
  • Tooltips are missing on the green line, yet they exist for the red line
  • I'd like the see the second line chart in the "Increased Demand?" section as a % of visit and not the number. It would add to understanding.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Coca-Cola Is Fighting against a US Public Losing the Taste for It

Source: The Guardian
Author: George Arnett

Double dose of #DataVizDoneRight in today's post since there are two well-done charts in the same article.






Best Practices:
  • Simple design that makes the story obvious
  • NOT including the scale is effective because the bars are labeled; it's not always necessary to include the scale
  • Good use of colors that are distinct from one another
  • Simple legends
  • Good font choice
Recommended Enhancements:
  • More descriptive titles so these can stand alone better without the article
  • Viewing these as line charts might be easier, but then the comparisons within each year would be more challenging
  • Use the brand colors for the bars where possible

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2014 Was the Hottest Year on Record

Source: Bloomberg
Author: Tom Randall and Blacki Migliozzi

Originally seen on The Functional Art.  Click on the image to go to the interactive version.



Best Practices:
  • Amazing interactivity
  • Great storytelling as you watch this change over time
  • Nice use of red to indicate the hotter temperatures
  • Nice use of highlighting and brushing
  • Great tooltips
Recommended Enhancements:
  • Fix the title so it doesn't overlap the control buttons
  • Add a gray reference line for the 20th Century Average

Friday, February 13, 2015

Isabel's Weather Homework

Source: Tableau Public
Author: Isabel

Click on the image to go to the interactive version.



Best Practices:
  • Nice overall story layout
  • Easy to understand
  • Nice use of color-blind friendly colors on the line chart
  • Rain fall bar chart makes it easy to see three big periods of rain
  • Really neat to use arrows to show the wind direction!
Recommended Enhancements:
  • None! Isabel is seven; we should only be encouraging her.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Washington Hikes That Are Good for Kids

Source: Pixel Drifter
Author: Michael Mixon

Click on the image to go to the interactive version.



Best Practices:
  • Good color choice for the topic
  • Great icon choices
  • Excellent titles and subtitles that tell me what's going on in the viz
  • Including detailed information about the parks is a great touch
  • Location and layout of the filters is wonderful
  • This is not only a beautiful viz, it's will be very useful for hikers in Washington.
Recommended Enhancements:
  • Fix the capitalization of the title
  • I find the font a bit hard to read in a browser; it looks much better printed.
  • The hover doesn't work on all of the bars (I think this is a v9 bug which I've reported).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Vaccination Rates for Every Kindergarten in California

Source: The New York Times
Author: Matthew Bloch, Josh Keller and Haeyoun Park

Note: I had previously done a makeover of a Tableau viz that uses the same data set, but allows for filtering.

Click on the image to go to the interactive version. Additional images below the review.


Best Practices:
  • Color-blind friendly color choices
  • Excellent mobile experience
  • Nice summaries for each major metropolitan area
  • Using a map makes seeing the concentrations easier to spot
  • Just enough labeling; only the detail needed is shown, but more detail is available if you zoom in
Recommended Enhancements:
  • Make filtering easier
  • Make it more obvious that if you make the screen narrow, you get the metro area level views below


San Francisco Bay Area



Los Angeles


Orange County

Friday, February 6, 2015

What If Odell Beckham Jr. Played the Whole Season

Source: Dueling Data
Author: Adam McCann

Click on the image to go to the interactive version.



Best Practices:
  • Made a Tableau viz feel like an infographic...not easy to do
  • Consistent colors (i.e., blue always means Odell Beckham)
  • The parts of the story are nicely separated.
  • Overall design is simple, clean and easy to understand
  • Good use of reference lines
  • I like the middle section with the text summary and the rankings nice and big.
  • Excellent title and subtitle that set the stage for the viz
Recommended Enhancements:
  • Since all of the bars are labeled everywhere, theres no need to show the axis.
  • The orange is kind of bright because there is so much of it; I would have gone with a gray so that they fade into the background.

How the Seahawks and Patriots Got to the Top

Source: FiveThirtyEight
Author: Nate Silver, Reuben Fischer-Baum, Neil Paine


Best Practices:
  • Great use of highlighting when there are a ton of lines
  • Excellent labeling
  • Title and subtitle give all of the context needed to understand the charts
Recommended Enhancements:
  • The aspect ratio looks off. Best practices recommend a 3:2 width to height ratio, but this one looks like it's about 2:3, which makes the lines look steeper than they really are. 
  • I'd like to see this without the gray background, especially since most of the lines are gray, though the gray background is their style.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Virgin Atlantic VS43 Landing Gear Problems

Source: That Data Viz Guy
Author: Paul Chapman

Click on the image to go to the interactive version.


Best Practices:
  • Great use case for Tableau's story points feature!
  • Consistent use of colors; it looks like the official colors for the airlines were used, which is great!
  • Simple story, told in an engaging manner
  • I like how Easyjet was incorporated so that you could see how this impacted another airline.
  • Putting the airline on the end of the line is a nice touch
  • Nice use of annotations to add relevant context
Recommended Enhancements:
  • The first story uses a different background map than all of the rest; this should be consistent.
  • Make the maps smaller so it fits on one screen
  • The headlines talks about the impact on Gatwick, but the impact talked about is only for Easyjet. What about the other airlines?
  • The text on at least one of the tabs of the stories are cut off.
  • The story could have ended earlier at the 19:10 story point.
  • The last three story points don't add much value to the story. 
  • On the "Follow a specific flight" story point, none of the flight I selected showed anything. This list should only show flights that will display.
  • The last story says to "PRESS PLAY", yet there's not play button.

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