Scatterplots are not used by the NY Times because readers simply can’t make sense of them. Don’t oversimplify, but don’t assume that your audience can read a complex chart. Know your audience, and if possible test your charts with a small sample. Know what they expect, deliver that and perhaps a little more. When adding new charts, explain […]
Suppose you are sharing a list of orders with some co-workers. One of them wants to see the higher sales orders [list]. Another one wants to know how much was exported to France [table]. The next one needs the average items per order [descriptive statistics]. You want to see the growth trend for several products [chart]. Only one of […]
A chart is just one of the available tools to communicate and help you and your audience to understand the data; sometimes using a chart is just plain wrong: if variation seems random or non-existent, what’s the point of displaying the data graphically (yes, I know, sometimes that’s what you want to show)? So, take a […]
Pascal Comelade, a french musician, plays toy pianos for a living. How many of us could do the same? How many of us could (professionally) use toys instead of our standard, grown-up tools?
Now imagine that a toy maker starts marketing their toys as serious musical instruments. How would Beethoven’s 5th Symphony sound like? At first, it would be funny […]
We all know how found of pie charts Tufte is:
A table is nearly always better than a dumb pie chart; the only worse design than a pie chart is several of them, for then the viewer is asked to compare quantities located in spatial disarray both within and between charts (…). Given their low density and failure to […]
Can my Excel Demographic Dashboard be recreated in Crystal XCelsius? This is the main theme for this series of posts. In the first post I set the stage, define the rules and show how the basic “demographic KPI’s” can be displayed using gauges. The second post discusses one of the major drawbacks I find in XCelsius and similar […]
This chart [via Junk Charts] in the New York Times uses a “tornado” chart (a population pyramid-like chart) to display two series, advertising spending in measured (traditional media) and unmeasured (Internet…) channels.
When discussing how to create population pyramids, I wrote that I don’t really like tornado charts, specially if you only have two series, because it takes up […]
Al Gore and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Why Al Gore? Thousands of scientists have been warning about the climate change for years. Why not them? Because of his political weight? Of course, but not only that. Because he learned (the hard way) how to communicate with people. Communicate visually, show, more […]
Yes, I know about the Malofiej awards and the Society for News Design. Yes, I know that there are many many designers out there that really care about the data and use their skills to communicate effectively, sometimes with awesome results.
Sacrificing data on the altar of Beauty
But for many many more, data is an annoying relative that can/should happily […]
Screencast: How to create a population pyramid in Excel.
I am a big fan of screencasts, as a regular reader of this blog may have already noticed. They are great at showing how to use a tool to get something done and they are the best companions for tutorial (e-)books.
This hypotetical regular reader might also guess from my previous […]