Long-time reader John forwarded the following chart via Twitter.
The chart shows the recent explosive growth in deaths due to Covid-19 in Texas. John flagged this graphic as yet another example in which the data are encoded to the lengths of the squares, not their areas.
Fixing this chart just requires fixing the length of one side of the square. I also flipped it to make a conventional column chart.
The final product:
An important qualification lurks in the footnote; it is directly applied to the label of July.
How much visual distortion is created when data are encoded to the lengths and not the areas? The following chart shows what readers see, assuming they correctly perceive the areas of those squares. The value for March is held the same as above while the other months show the death counts implied by the relative areas of the squares.
Owing to squaring, the smaller counts are artificially compressed while the big numbers are massively exaggerated.