Jul 30, 2008
Jerome C., a reader and blogger, wrote up a wonderful piece on different ways to publish charts on the web. Highly, highly recommended.
*** Rant ***
One of the points he made was that images (jpegs, gifs, etc.) are often published with poor quality. I feel the pain. Ever since Typepad switched to its new and "improved" editor, this blog has been suffering from low-quality thumbnails. I know, I know... I need to move to Wordpress. But from a 15-minute online research effort, I realized that moving a blog with lots of images is rather impossible! All of the images would have to be uploaded, and a lot of links would need to be fixed. Maybe the next time I am on holiday, I will get around to it.
*** Excel ***
a look at his comparisons of four ways to forklift an Excel chart onto
a blog. (The image on the right showed one of the four ways.) The difference in image sharpness is marked.
Resizing Excel charts is a common source of headache. Always right-size the chart inside Excel before exporting!
*** Swivel, Google, etc.***
I also share Jerome's point of view on these on-line graphics creators. Good idea, wishing for more. In his words:
to make a point, you absolutely need to be able to control every aspect of your graph, even if its form remains familiar: combine series, group or highlight some datapoints, format axis, and so on.
I would like to explore the other options he cited, such as Processing.
*** Great example ***
Jerome's blog has a promising beginning. The following chart is both informative and beautifully crafted. It brings out the clear message that OECD countries have done admirably well in life expectancy, and particularly impressive in reducing the variance among member countries by lifting the expected age of the worse-off, relative to the better-off, with most of the gain happening during the 1980s. (Adding quartiles may also be meaningful. And I prefer to put the labels outside the plot area.) The graph does not explain what caused the shift in the 1980s but this is a great starting point for the curious.