Raining, data art, if it ain't broke
Confusion is not limited to complex dataviz

A Tufte fix for austerity

Trish, who attended one of my recent data visualization workshops, submitted a link to the Illinois Atlas of Austerity.

Atlas_il_austerity_clientsShown on the right is one of the charts included in the presentation.

This is an example of a chart that fails my self-sufficiency test.

There is no chance that readers are getting any information out of the graphical elements (the figurines of 100 people each).

Everyone who tries to learn something from this chart will be reading the data labels directly.

The entire dataset is printed on the chart itself. If you cover up the data, the chart becomes unreadable!


Here is a simple fix that resettles the figurines onto a bar chart:


Tufte would not be amused by this composition. The figurines are purely decorative.

This version is more likely to delight Tufte:


It is the edges of the bars in the bar chart that make all the difference.


Aside from the visual problems, there is also a data issue. They should have controlled by the size of different programs.




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A very...austere...solution.

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