Highlighting data viz best practices around the web

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Has the Snow Finally Stopped?

Source: FiveThirtyEight
Author: Harry Enten


Best Practices:

  • Really interesting design. I love the dot on top of the bar range.
  • Sorting by earliest to latest
  • The legend is really good at explaining how to read the visualisation. This is especially useful when it’s a chart type that isn’t common.
  • Nice clean view; mostly all bits of ink have a purpose
  • Clearly identified the data source
  • Minimal use of color
  • Bold lines to divide the months
  • Nice annotation that explains why two of the cities have their median way at the left end of the range
  • Good subtitle

Recommended Enhancements:

  • The title is misleading. It gives you the impression that winter ends in this range, which simply isn’t true. This is merely when the last snowfall occurred.
  • The gridlines between the months are unnecessary and misleading. This makes it look like there are four weeks in every month when that’s not the case.
  • The months should be spaced by the number of days in each month to make the bar ranges more accurate.
  • Are the horizontal gridlines for each city necessary? I’d have to see the chart without them. They do help connect the city with the bars, but are they unnecessary clutter?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Extreme Variance in U.S. Population Distribution

Source: dadaviz
Author: dadaviz


Best Practices:

  • Terrific storytelling; I love how the story gets more and more extreme as you scroll through the maps
  • Simple use of colors that work well together, yet contrast each other
  • Using the text in the header to act as a color legend
  • Adding numbers for context and for comparison
  • Gives a great overview for just how people live in just a few counties, especially the last map that compares Los Angeles County to entire States
  • Minimalist maps put the focus on the data
  • Leaving the titles off; they aren’t needed

Recommended Enhancements:

  • Cite the data source


Thursday, January 12, 2017

The State of U.S. Jobs: 1976-2016

Source: The Daily Viz
Author: Matt Stiles


Best Practices:

  • Great example of small multiple line charts
  • Neatly organized
  • Alphabetical sort makes it easy to find a State
  • Comparing to the national unemployment rate provides much better context for each State
  • Shading each chart a light red to indicate a problem
  • Dots on the end that are labeled
  • Nice annotation on the first chart that helps explain how to read all of the charts
  • Only including the y-axis on the first chart in each row
  • Light gridlines help frame each chart
  • Consistent scales across all charts
  • Labelling the x-axis by decade
  • Clear note, credits and source at the end

Recommended Enhancements:

  • Include a + next to the positive values both on the axis and on the label
  • Color the dot on the end red for positive or negative) for additional context

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Europeans Greatly Overestimate Muslim Population

Source: The Guardian
Author: Pamela Duncan


Best Practices:

  • Clear title that tells the story of the chart
  • Good legend placement so you know what the colors mean before you read the chart
  • Alphabetical sort makes it easy to look up a country
  • Making the focus color orange allows it stand out from the others and drive home the message
  • Color is only used where necessary
  • Light grey bars in the background help the Gantt bars stand out

Recommended Enhancements:

  • Include the difference between perception and reality next to each country name for more context
  • Only including “selected countries” might be misleading; Did they cherry pick these countries to fit the story?
  • Allow sort options for Reality, Perception and Difference

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