Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 - by Bella
The German magazine “Der Spiegel” shows: everywhere in Germany, it is dangerous to go swimming. Water poor. Lots of dots on a map. 15 red. 36 black. Ughhhh! While I like swimming so much. I turned the page.
Source: The German magazine „Der Spiegel“, 2012–05–26, page 18.
Stop. I go back. What? The Spiegel says: “On sunny days … only tiptoes in the water … minor water quality … worsened …”. Then, last line: „at 2259 swimming areas … splash without any worries“. Fine! Where I like swimming so much. Let me get my calculator. At 0,6 percent of all swimming areas*, it is not so good.
Clever, the magazine „Der Spiegel“: One’s own fault who doesn’t read until the end. And doesn’t see the tiny blue dots on the map.
For people who don’t want to drown graphically: Show, how it is. Outliers are, as it always is: rarely, sometimes, here and there. But not everywhere. It is possible to show outliers, when you also show, what doesn’t lie out.
*15 of (2259+15+36) = 0,6 percent.
Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 - by Bella
Man as value is difficult. I find bad: carving man, shrinking man, amputating man, ballooning man. I find good: man as measure. Eye level. Knee-high. Hand deep. Foot long. By a hair. At arm’s length.
An architect redecorated our office. He often uses his body as measurement: his hand is 10 cm wide. His thumb and forefinger 20 cm apart. His forearm is 30 cm long. His foot, too (with his shoe on). His forearm with ring finger is 45 cm long. His arms bridge 180 cm. His eyes are at a height of 1,75 m. Forgot your metering rule? So what.
Source: Wall Street Journal, 2011–01–28, page 11.
You can use man as measure. But only completely. But only artful. As above.
By the way, I am knee-high.
Monday, April 30th, 2012 - by Bella
He was upset about it. Because there is no logarithm. And everything appears wrong: electricity rises more than gas. Fuel oil prices explode. Wrong. I have drawn it with logarithm. Gas rises more than electricity. Fuel oil rises a little more than gas. Right. Because, from the beginning to the end: gas plus 83 percent, electricity plus 36 percent, fuel oil plus 122 percent.
Source left: Welt am Sonntag, 2008–06–08, page 7. Right: with a corrected chart, by me, yesterday.
For comfort I found him another Sunday newspaper. Where there is logarithm. So that it looks right. And that you can see something at all. Without logarithm the people from Oceania would be flat as gas from “Welt am Sonntag”. And the Asians steep as oil from “Welt am Sonntag”.
Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 2011–10–30, page 67.
Have a look: double buckle. At (6) and (9). The same happens. For different loads of people. Foreigners come. Locals get ill and get killed. Later the population grows.
What you see all and right, if you see alright.
Sunday, April 15th, 2012 - by Bella
The newspaper “Die Welt” drew a picture. Of 100 eBay stars. 23 are filled, 77 are empty. One star is 10 percent. 10 stars are 100 percent. A star can be filled. Each star has 5 spikes. 2 spikes are 4 percent. 10 values are to be starred. The biggest value is 28 percent. That’s roughly 3 stars. Complicated? “Die Welt” thought so, too. For 20, 19, 18, 17, and 15, they simply filled 2 stars completely.
Source: Die Welt, 2012–04–10, page 13. Share of individuals selling goods or services over the Internet.
Show where 100 percent is? No. Because that never appears. Not even close. Cannot appear. Because not even all Danish live only in eBay.
Divide into stars, then fill the stars? No. If you divide, divide into whole things. If you fill, fill only whole things. Like in stacked dots or in fill charts.
Stare at 70 stars? No. All valueless. Due to a lack of values.
Full width three times wider than the used width? No.
Stack uneven things and fill them unevenly? No.
Is this the Welt’s worst graphic? Or this one? That’s still written in the stars.
Ten values can be shown with ten bars. BITKOM thought so, too.
Source: BITKOM (the Federal Association for Information Technology,
Telecommunications, and New Media in Germany).
Friday, March 30th, 2012 - by Bella
If you want to compare something, put it on the same level.
Works with numbers, too. Even when they are connected. Like in time series. Jan did it like this. The small lines where concatenated before. One line started where another one ended. Now they are split. And start on the same level.
U. S. debt as a percentage of GDP. Source: IN GRAPHICS Vol. 3, Berlin 2011, pp. 26–27.
Next picture also. Click to enlarge.
You almost had to take the logarithm. But it’s still okay.
Index time series are on the same level anyway. Jan put one after another. Good.
Change in level of debt during the terms in office. Click to enlarge.
The common level may also be in the middle. Here the line is the mean of a rate that’s interesting for managers. Credit notes.
Source: Pivot chart, by me.
The same figures as a Graphical Table. Compact and legible. Structure top-down. Again, the mean is the line. Good.
Same Data, another Graphical Table. The mean is the gray bars. Good, too.
By the way: I have cheated. I sit on the same level as the lion. But the photographer doesn’t look from the front. Now he does. I am smaller.
Thursday, March 15th, 2012 - by Bella
The Süddeutsche Zeitung draws graphical tables. Good. And has done so for a while. Since 2007, I think. Now they’ve changed something. I rushed to the kiosk. And had a look.
Share prices in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Above: 2008–10–23, below: 2011–12–07.
Bars for change vs. previous day.
The five columns on the right are wider now. By five digits. But none were added. The column for the chart is now narrower. And used to the full even less.
I wanted to know more precisely and had a very close look. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Five times ouch.
Ashes instead of longer, starting at approx. 5 percent.
Above: 2008, below: 2011. View enlarged.
First ouch: The SZ chops the heads of bars off. Starting at approx. 5 percent. And draws ashes. They used to do this. They still do. 13.86 is as big as 7.23. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Second ouch: The ashes make larger values smaller than smaller ones. 4.80 looks longer than 6.26.
Third ouch: The new ashes are dust. Chopped off or not? You can tell with a magnifying glass. Only then.
Excerpts from above. Left: 2008, center: 2011, right: redesign by me.
Fourth ouch: The bars are shorter than they could be. Whether chopped off or not. They used to be. They still are. And now even shorter. I scanned. And counted pixels. There used to be 45 pixels for 3.4%. Now there are only 25 pixels for it.
Fifth ouch: Correct would be easy. I’ve drawn it, on the right.
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 - by Bella
It’s hard to print my lovely coat. Because it’s black. And printing black is hard. I learnt that from my book. That was printed by someone who can do black well. Because he normally prints X-rays. They’re also pretty black.
Someone else printed my ad recently. Unfortunately. And we forgot the proof. Unfortunately.
As a result, the ad was “drowned”. That’s what printers say. When it’s too late.
Maybe it was the Titanic’s fault. That was on the front.
The Wall Street Journal doesn’t have a black coat. Even so, they’re printing on black more and more. Unfortunately. And drowning, like a lot of the people who were on the Titanic. Unfortunately.
Source: Wall Street Journal Europe, 2012–02–24, page 1.
Take note: Print on white if your coat’s not black.
Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 - by Bella
The colored cars again. Did you notice? The values weren’t just tangled up. But incorrectly scaled as well. Brown increased the most. Wasn’t noticeable. Because: The values are so different. Brown is small. Gray is big. This calls for a logarithm. Of course.
Better, but muddled. Lay it again, Sam? Like last time? You bet. You can tile logarithmically as well. And comparatively. Then it looks like this.
Drawback: You lose the level. Brown is growing strongly, but at a low level. Unfortunately: You can’t get good legibility, correct scale, display of level, and correct dynamics in one chart. A good solution time and time again then: Level with bars, dynamics with columns.
Monday, January 30th, 2012 - by Bella
Die Welt tangles up developments. About automobile colors. Pretty spaghetti-ish to me.
New registrations by color in percent (* Colors other than those shown not listed).
Source: Die Welt, 2011–11–27, page 99.
Showing things next to each other is good. When next to each other is on top of each other, it becomes a dog’s dinner. A bad one. Then you need to disentangle things from each other. Like this, for example.
Redesign as Small Multiples. By me.
Not a dog’s dinner anymore. You can see the big ones clearly. But still not the small ones. Got to think about that.
Sunday, January 15th, 2012 - by Bella
Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Bella
William* says: Chop the feet off lines. And move them around until everything is banking at 45 degrees. On average. Then it looks good. And can be read well. Because: Every angle is as different as it can be. Look. Pretty flat. Angles pretty similar. Not good.
Unemployment figures in Germany, 1991–2010. Data: Federal Statistical Office.
Now squashed up. Until everything is banking at 45 degrees. On average. Much better.
Chopping allowed. Even better. But no longer 45 degrees.
Chopped off and everything at 45 degrees. Best of all.
The newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” drew it that way. More or less. Looks good.
New students at German universities. Source: Welt am Sonntag, 2011–12–11, page 7.
* Cleveland, W. S., The Elements of Graphing Data, Murray Hill 1994, pages 251–256.
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 - by Bella
Variety is the spice of life. But sometimes Die Welt has too much variety. Three times from percent to percent. Three times different diagram types. Three times a new lesson to learn.
Column 1: Circles. From big to small is bad. Light is now. Dark next year. Circle is growth? Hm.
Column 2: Columns. Dangling. From short to long is bad. Agreed. Dark is now. Light next year. Hm.
Column 3: Lines. From low to high is bad. Disagreed. Other way round.
Euro countries under pressure (development of economy and deficit): GDP growth; annual deficit and debt level as % of GDP. Source: Die Welt, 2011–12–07, page 5. Click to enlarge.
Got a few mistakes as well. Portuguese circles. Finnish lines.
Problem was: Scales for –5.5 to +8 and –10.3 to +0.8, and 5.8 to 198.3. Scale globally? Doesn’t work. Big squashes small. Scale individually? How? With columns? Then everything looks alike. Lines would have worked. As in the right-hand column. Lesson learned once. Understood three times.
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 - by Bella
Stock market in the daily newspaper is tricky. Because: The prices are from yesterday. There are new ones today. And tomorrow. What’s important? Mood? Yesterday’s? Exact index level? Change? Absolute? Relative? Trend?
I had a look at the front-page indexes. In all the daily newspapers. The FAZ doesn’t have one. In the FTD, NZZ, NN, NZ, and RP: trend arrows. For the day before yesterday to yesterday. Hmm. The FTD and NN got my hackles up once before. The NN and NZ only show the absolute change. Not so good for comparing.
The Handelsblatt, International Herald Tribune, SZ, Wall Street Journal, and Die Welt use triangles. Triangles are better than trend arrows. Because they don’t slope. And they don’t pretend to be a trend. The WSJ doesn’t use algebraic signs. (Not visible here. But here.) Ouch.
The Handelsblatt has the largest triangles. Across the page. Not good for reading. But okay for picking up yesterday’s mood. The WSJ has small triangles. Too small to create a mood. And hard to read. The triangles in Die Welt are even smaller. Too small.
Graphics from left to right as mentioned in the text, all from 2011–11–29.
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 - by Bella
The newspaper “Welt kompakt” drew Italy. Punched the flag. Got rid of the zero line. Silvio would think it’s great. More deficit now means less area. But he’d be insulted about the flag.
State finances in Italy: National deficit, debt level, expenditure/revenues. Source: Welt kompakt, 2011–11–10, page 20.
How to do it better? Fill in up above. Not below. Logical. Or: Make the negative sign positive.
It’s not correct at the bottom either. They need to fill in between the lines.
Even better: Don’t fill in at all. Not at the top. Not in the middle. Not at the bottom. After all: Now areas are being compared. They have different scales. And are not comparable.
Sunday, October 30th, 2011 - by Bella
I’ll have a snap at William one more time. He invented and botched up time series, dual time series – and pies:
The width of the pie means something. The two columns to the left and right also mean something. The steepness of the line between the two columns means zilch. Because: That depends on the pie width. Not on the column height. Don’t copy.
Willy also invented bars. I could also nag about them. Labeling to the left, scale to the bottom. And so on. But I won’t.
Studying role models is fine. Simply copying is not.