Data decorations, ornaments, chartjunk, and all that
Chatting with Facebook scientists about charting

An infographic showing up here for the right reason

Infographics do not have to be "data ornaments" (link). Once in a blue moon, someone finds the right balance of pictures and data. Here is a nice example from the Wall Street Journal, via ThumbsUpViz.

 

Thumbsupviz_wsj_footballinjuries

 

Link to the image

 

What makes this work is that the picture of the running back serves a purpose here, in organizing the data.  Contrast this to the airplane from Consumer Reports (link), which did a poor job of providing structure. An alternative of using a bar chart is clearly inferior and much less engaging.

Redowsjinjuries_bar

***

I went ahead and experimented with it:

Redo_wsj_nflinjuries

 

I fixed the self-sufficiency issue, always present when using bubble charts. In this case, I don't think it matters whether the readers know the exact number of injuries so I removed all of the data from the chart.

Here are  three temptations that I did not implement:

  • Not include the legend
  • Not include the text labels, which are rendered redundant by the brilliant idea of using the running guy
  • Hide the bar charts behind a mouseover effect.

 

Comments

NotTooMuchReduction

> Not include the text labels, which are rendered redundant by the brilliant idea of using the running guy

The labels clarify that it's not forearm but the whole arm, not shank or calf but leg.

jlbriggs

I don't know that I'd call the bar chart 'clearly inferior'.

The player graphic is certainly more engaging, and is a great graphic, but there is still plenty of use for the bar chart too.

Why not both?

http://imgur.com/sFm7HRj

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