Highlighting data viz best practices around the web

Monday, November 23, 2015

Jeb Bush’s Problem Is Jeb Bush

Source: FiveThirtyEight
Author: Harry Enten

Click on the image for the full size version.


Best Practices
:

  • Using small multiples is great idea because we can see each candidate separately yet still compare them to the others
  • Sorting candidates by the latest score
  • Documenting the source
  • Using a + to emphasise positive ratings
  • Nice title and subtitle
  • Graying out candidates that were not in the latest debate
  • Only including the date scale at the bottom; this helps reduce clutter
  • Using a consistent scale across all charts

Recommended Enhancements:

  • Remove the gray background; it makes the text harder to read
  • Make the data available
  • Make the subtitle smaller

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

U.S. Refugees Arrested on Domestic Terrorism Charges Since 9/11

Source: Fusion
Author: Kevin Roose

Click on the image for the full size version.

Best Practices:

  • Incredibly accurate
  • Tells a compelling story

Recommended Enhancements:

  • Rotate the year labels to be horizontal
  • Add the axis line for the y-axis
  • Add axis labels

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chelsea’s Historically Awful Start

Source: FiveThirtyEight
Author: James Curley

Click on the image for the full size version.


Best Practices
:

  • Excellent use of highlighting only Chelsea yet keeping the rest of the teams in context
  • Clean, simple chart
  • Colouring the line blue to match Chelsea’s official colour

Recommended Enhancements:

  • A more descriptive subtitle would be better that indicates more what the story is about. Something like this would make for a better subtitle: "Chelsea is averaging less than one point per game. This is the team’s worst start since 1978 — a season after which they were relegated.”
  • I know it’s their style, but I really don’t like the gray background on the chart.
  • I wish this were interactive so that I could hover over a line and see which team it is.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

History of the U.S. Debt Ceiling

Source: Visual Capitalist
Author: Jeff Desjardins

Click on the image for the full size version.


Best Practices:
  • Really good title and subtitle that tell me what the chart is about
  • Excellent use of colour association: Republicans = red; Democrats = blue
  • Great annotations/reference lines for the changes in Presidents
  • Colour-coding the President names by their party
  • Light reference lines do their job perfectly
  • Good choice of a bar chart instead of a line as the space fills to have more impact
  • Good legend placement (it’s noticeable, positioned well, yet out of the way)
  • Including the dots for which party controls each section of Congress add a lot of context
Recommended Enhancements:
  • Why is the $19.6T proposal in red? To me that implied there will be a Republican President in 2016.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The History of the NFL

Source: Sir Viz-a-Lot
Author: Matt Chambers

Click on the image for the interactive version.


Best Practices:
  • Perfect use of fonts to match those used by the NFL
  • Excellent colour choices; for each team Matt used the official colours for that team
  • Using gold to highlight the NFL champions makes them stand out better
  • Organizationally, this is perfect. This is exactly how the NFL organizes their teams and in this order.
  • Not including an axis was an excellent choice because it focuses the reader on the patterns and not the specifics
  • The design makes the patterns pop out. For example:
    • The Patriots domination since 2001
    • The Steelers and Raiders in the 70s
    • The consistent ineptitude of the Lions, Buccaneers and Cardinals
  • Excellent tricks in the tooltips to make them look like unit charts
Recommended Enhancements:
  • Update the tooltips with bar charts when they become availalbe in Tableau
  • Use ASCII squares instead of vertical lines in the tooltips
  • Change the tooltip font to match the dashboard font, i.e., consistency with font choices

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