Variance is a friend of dataviz
May 25, 2022
Seven years ago, I wrote a post about "invariance" in data visualization, which is something we should avoid (link). Yesterday, Business Insider published the following chart in an article about rising gas prices (link):
The map shows the average prices at the pump in seven regions of the United States.
This chart is succeeded by the following map:
This second map shows the change in average gas prices in the same seven regions.
This design is invariant to the data! While the data change, the visualization looks identical. That's because the data are not encoded to any visual element - they are just printed as labels.
I'm new here and was wondering what visual changes you would make the image more visually effective
Posted by: Ed | Jun 07, 2022 at 02:23 PM
Hi Ed: welcome! The easiest change is to code the data (average prices, average price changes) into the colors. So, a single color with different shades. But that is still more of a geography lesson then anything since color is a rather "coarse" representation of continuous values. A column chart is the next thing I'd try.
Posted by: Kaiser | Jun 08, 2022 at 05:30 PM