Visualize This
September 29, 2017 1:33 PM   Subscribe

The Data Viz Project is a visually scrumptious dictionary of over 150 data visualization techniques. From the donut chart to the radial line graph, to the violin plot. Best of all it allows you to list the techniques based upon your input data (select "Input" from the top-level menu and match your data set with the offered choices). You can also choose a technique based on the message you would like to convey. (Select Function from the top menu). E.g. for Concept visualization, how about using an exploded view? For trend over time, how about a hanging rootogram?
posted by storybored (13 comments total) 90 users marked this as a favorite
Nice! Data vis sometimes suffers from an overemphasis on style and an underemphasis on communication so I like that Function function a lot. Similarly, Visualizing Health offers a "scientifically vetted style guide for communicating health data."
posted by entropone at 2:06 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]

This is basically porn to me. Thank you. I'll be in my ... home office.
posted by AFABulous at 2:18 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]

This is great, thanks. May I suggest you tag it with data? (Reason: I was looking for data-related posts earlier today, and would not have found this with either of the tags I was using, data or statistics.)
posted by paduasoy at 2:28 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]

Been there, Tufte'd that, (wait should I be in the joke thread)... But seriously now the categorization by input type is just brilliant!
posted by sammyo at 2:58 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]

This would be a lot more useful if it gave some usage guidance. As it is, it uncritically presents several bad and frequently misused visualizations, such as:

proportional area charts: Humans are notoriously bad at accurately comparing areas as opposed to lengths. For comparing single values like this a column chart or table would be much more useful.

pictorial fraction charts: A cute but often misleading visualization. Usually the fraction of the image is based on length rather than area, which can be confusing. Best to stick with a column chart, stacked column chart, or table.

pie charts: These are almost always a bad idea. In the rare case where they can be accurately read (e.g. fewer 7 slices, none of which are very small), you're almost always better off with a simple table.

If you must have a visualization, an improved alternative to a pie chart is a grid. The rectangular areas are easier to read and compare than traditional pie charts.
posted by jedicus at 3:21 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]

Jedicus is spot on. These may be pretty, but a lot of them encode data in ways that we as humans are absolutely terrible at decoding (basically anything encoded as angles, areas, or colors, or with misaligned axis/reference points, or in 3D).
posted by noneuclidean at 4:29 PM on September 29

No offense, but I'm pretty fed up with visualizations. (Although I am a Tufte fan)
In my job, a lot of useful programs that I have to use are being replaced with programs that are less useful to me.
They seem to be oriented more to management than to getting a job done.
You can tell these are oriented to management because they all have charts, mostly pie charts.

I think the appearance of a pie chart is a dead giveaway that this screen is for management.
And of course, management needs some screens, but why do I have to use management screens?
We got a presentation on Kibana (which is replacing a currently useful program with a harder-to-use interface), and the presenter went on and on about the 'cool' widgets.

Less visualizations, please. And maybe an interface that doesn't require a mouse??
posted by MtDewd at 5:02 PM on September 29

Not only are some of these just bad, but some of the simple ones aren't even done well. The Pareto chart has a cumulative line that decreases on a positive value (not to mention several other issues). That's not mathematically possible. The ternary plot is missing a set of grid lines.
posted by noneuclidean at 5:32 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]

Wow yeah, the Pareto chart page looks like someone stopped reading after "contains both bars and a line graph."
posted by RobotHero at 5:50 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]

See also Vega, a declarative Javascript visualization library. For when D3 is a bit too flexible / abstract and you just want to render some marks in a simple way.
posted by Nelson at 1:20 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]

This is basically porn to me.

That was my thought too when I saw their violin plot.
posted by ejs at 12:54 PM on September 30

a lot of them encode data in ways that we as humans are absolutely terrible at decoding

You're saying this like it's a bad thing...
posted by pompomtom at 12:44 AM on October 1

Confidence intervals or GTFO. Conveying uncertainty should be the prime directive, especially when management is involved.
posted by benzenedream at 9:01 PM on October 10

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