• When people break up, according to Facebook updates

    November 4, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization


    For his book The Visual Miscellaneum, David McCandless, along with Lee Byron, had a look at breakups on Facebook, according to status updates. They looked for the phrase "we broke up because" in status updates, and then graphed the frequencies over time. Why they couldn't just look at updates to relationship status, I'm not sure.

    Notice the peak leading up to the holiday season and spring cleaning. Then there's the people who think it's a funny April Fool's joke to say the broke up with their significant other.

    Finally, there's the highlight of Mondays, which you might lead you to believe that people like to call it quits during the beginning of the week. My hunch though is that it happens towards the end of the week, people use the weekend to be sad, and then talk about it on Facebook.

    [Information is Beautiful | Thanks, Elise]

  • Past century of government and economy

    November 2, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    100 years of government

    John Palmer has a look at the past 100 years of government and economic indicators:

    This historical perspective visualizes economic trends and spending patterns, during good times and bad. Present-day assumptions regarding core party values have had major shifts over time, and the ridiculous extremes in voter alignment, lobbying, and legislative action are due for revision. As a basis for future shift, this data can educate a presumptive public, empowering citizens to make an informed decision on each and every election day.

    I'm not so sure this would help you make a better informed decision as you vote, since the relationship between political party and economy is more complex than true and false. It's a good historical reference though.

    What do you think of the graph overlays on top for GDP, debt, collections and CPI, with different vertical scales?

    [Thanks, John]

  • Issues Americans care about

    November 1, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    What Americans care about interacive chart

    Every year the Pew Research Center asks Americans what their top political priority is for the year. It should come as no surprise that the economy, jobs, and terrorism top the list.
    Continue Reading

  • Visualizing NFL statistics

    October 26, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Visualizing NFL statistics

    Sports statistics. Always so many tables. Juice Analytics takes a more visual approach with their interactive:

    Our NFL stats "spike chart" is an easy way to see who's leading the league in passing, rushing, receiving, tackles, team offense, and team defense. By showing key metrics side by side, you get the full picture of a player or team performance—not just the highlights.

    It's pretty straightforward. Select a category on the top, such as passing or rushing, and then see how your favorite players rank in four subcategories. Each player is represented by his team logo. Roll over a logo to see a player's numbers as well as how they rank in all the subcategories, highlighted by a white square.

    Finally, use the search box to find the player of interest. Matching boxes highlight as you type.

    Such a simple idea. Well executed.

    [Juice Analytics]

  • Average age of Congress over time

    October 21, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Average age of Congress

    I don't know about you, but I tend to associate Congress with an older generation. Just how hold are the folks who make up the Senate and House of Representatives? Alex Lowe, Kurt Wilberding, and Ana Rivas report for The Wall Street Journal with this interactive timeline and histograms.
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  • Challenge: Advertised vs. actual waistline

    September 30, 2010  |  Contests, Statistical Visualization

    waistline measurement chart for men

    Ever notice how pants seem to fit differently from store-to-store even though they're labeled as the same size? Why does the 36-inch at Old Navy feel kind of loose but the same size at The Gap feels like you had too many fries at lunch? Here's your answer from the Esquire Style blog. The actual size (from this über-scientific study, I am sure) tends to be bigger than the size as advertised. A 36-inch waistline actually means 41 inches in Old Navy units.
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  • Exploratory tool for school admissions

    September 29, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization


    With thousands of applications, it can be tough deciding who to admit in to your program. The aptly named Admitulator, by Golan Levin, helps faculty sort things out:

    Admitulator 2.0 (2010). A custom tool for quantitatively evaluating university applicants according to a diverse array of weighted metrics. The pie chart is the core interface for sorting and evaluating applicants; it allows faculty with different admissions priorities to explore and negotiate different balances between applicant features (such as e.g. portfolio scores, standardized test scores, grade point averages, etcetera). Built in Processing for the CMU School of Art.

    Next stop: Match.com.

    [Admitulator via @golan]

  • Music listening preferences by gender

    September 28, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Listening habits by age and gender

    Last.fm intern Joachim Van Herwegen has a quick look at listening habits by age and gender:

    The sizes of the artists' names indicate how popular they are, while their position shows the gender mix and average age of their listeners. Based on the positions of the larger names, it’s already obvious which age category is most common amongst Last.fm users.

    With age on the horizontal and gender breakdown on the vertical, artists on the bottom left are those popular among young girls. Top right are artists popular among older men. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead appear to hit the universal sweet spot.

    I wonder how the graphs would vary across services. For example, I've been using Rdio for the past month, and nerd hipster music seems to be the hot theme around those parts. Hit up YouTube though, and everything is Bieberriffic. [Last.fm via Waxy]

  • Expense visualizer

    September 23, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Canada expense visualizer

    In an effort to make Canadian government expense data more accessible, FFunction designed the Expense Visualizer. A slider on top lets you filter by time, and small graphs show spending by different departments. Rearrange panels as you wish, and select among several scaling options as absolute values or relative. Bookmark your custom views or send them to others.

    It took two years to make, but I'm pretty sure most of that time was waiting for all the groups to publish their data since the implementation itself is fairly straightforward.

    A vertical axis probably would've been useful to see the values more easily. Or even better, a display of values as you rollover the graphs (like this).

    [Thanks, Sébastien]

  • Faith and poverty in the world

    September 8, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    World of Faith by Charles M Blow

    Using data from a recent Gallup report showing a correlation between wealth and faith, Charles M. Blow reports in graphic form. Each sphere, sized by population, represents a country. Spheres are colored by dominant religion in that country.
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  • Countries of the world ranked by stuff

    August 25, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Countries ranked by health and education

    What country has the best education? Health? Quality of life? Thomas Klepl and Adam Clarkson of Newsweek take a look at important metrics for the world's best countries. It's basically a parallel coordinates plot turned on its side. Each represents a metric, and each circle in a row is a country.

    Select a country from the list on the left or by directly interacting with the plot. If a country is top in all categories, like Finland, then all of the scores are going to be on the right. Burkina Faso, on the other hand, is all the way to the left. Of course, this is only the "top" 100 countries.

    You can also filter by geographic regions, income, and population groups.

    While I'm not totally sure about the ranking system and methodology, it's an interesting look.

    [Thanks, Adam]

  • Stacked area shows the Web is dead?

    August 17, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Web is dead infographic - revised

    Wired has declared that the Web is dead in their September cover story, and they lead off with this stacked area chart showing the decline of browser-based consumption. Each layer represents a way to consume media via the Internet. Instead of the browser, the majority of US traffic, as estimated by Cisco, has shifted towards peer-to-peer, video, and tiny apps over browsers. Data accuracy questions aside, let's not forget though that the number of total users is still growing, and that smaller portion using the Web is still billions of people.

    My main concern is that the graphic only goes up to 2005. That's ages ago by Internet time. What do the numbers look like now?

    [via TechCrunch]

    Update: Graphic now has correct timespan labels. So now it's back to the debate of relative vs absolute values. [thx, Joanna]

    Update again: What if the article had been about the growth in the number of ways we can interact with online media? Would we see this distribution differently?

  • Alex Rodriguez joins the 600 club

    August 9, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Alex Rodriguez home run chart

    Alex Rodriguez became only the seventh player in MLB history to hit 600 home runs, at a younger age than any of the previous six by far. Amanda Cox and Kevin Quealy of The New York Times visualize home run counts for Rodriguez and other big hitters. It's similar to the graphic NYT designed when Barry Bonds passed Hank Aaron back in 2007, except with this new one, you can sort the home run lines by season or by age.
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  • $8.7b Iraq development funds unaccounted for

    August 8, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Iraq funds unaccounted for pie chart

    A simple question from GOOD magazine: where did the money to rebuild Iraq go? In 2003, the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) was established for the benefit of the country's people. The Department of Defense (DoD) managed that money. According to a report [pdf] from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction:

    Weaknesses in DoD’s financial and management controls left it unable to properly account for $8.7 billion of the $9.1 billion in DFI funds it received for reconstruction activities in Iraq. This situation occurred because most DoD organizations receiving DFI funds did not establish the required Department of the Treasury accounts and no DoD organization was designated as the executive agent for managing the use of DFI funds. The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss.

    That's 96% of 9.1 billion dollars that we apparently have no clue about how it was spent. What?

    [Thanks, Elise]

  • The Reach of Firefox data poster

    Exploring the Reach of Firefox

    Once every blue moon I like to freelance as a short break from school work, and a few months back I got an email from…
  • Redesign of the Federal IT Dashboard

    August 2, 2010  |  Design, Statistical Visualization

    About a year after the launch of the Federal IT Dashboard, business intelligence consultancy Juice Analytics focuses on five areas — message, flow, charts, context, and design fundamentals — where the dashboard could use some improvement.

    The first tip on message:

    The information designer is responsible for presenting the data in a way that the message is delivered in a clear and understandable way. If the data is left to speak for itself, users can be left confused or frustrated. And in all likelihood they won't to [sp] see the full value of the data. That's particularly tough for this Federal IT Dashboard where a huge amount of effort has been put into gathering consistent data across agencies.

    Totally agree with this, but to avoid confusion, let's clarify. You should always let the data speak for itself. It's just that what the data says often seems like a foreign language to non-professionals. It's up to you, the information designer, to translate. The better you can translate, the better the information designer you are.

    See the rest of the redesign on Juice Analytics (who is hiring, by the way).

  • Exploration of our aging world

    July 26, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Our aging world interactive visualization

    From Ben Fry's newly established Fathom Information Design, is a visualization for GE on our aging world:

    According to the United Nations, the elderly population of the world is growing at its fastest rate ever. By 2050, there will be more than 2 billion people aged 60 or over. The age of a country's population can reveal insights about that country's history, and can provide a glimpse towards the economic and healthcare trends that will challenge their societies in the future.

    The piece is a simple but elegant interactive that lets you compare age distributions between countries, over time. Select one country on the top, and select another on the bottom. For each country, you get a pair of stacked bars (for men and women). Age moves left to right, so the left-most bars represent the youngest, and the right most represent the oldest.

    Use the slider on the bottom to navigate through time, and the distributions shift further right (i.e. people live longer) in a wave-like motion, as the population of each respective country increases.

    Finally, watch a composite of all eight selected countries in the bottom right.

    The one thing missing for me is the percentages for each age/gender group as you roll over each bar. But I'm just being picky. Really good stuff. The interactive leaves it up to you to see what's going on in the data.

    How does your country compare to others?

  • Gapminder makes its way to the desktop

    July 13, 2010  |  Software, Statistical Visualization

    Gapminder Desktop

    You've seen the presentation. You've seen the motion graph tool. But up until now, the data exploration tool, Trendalyzer, has always been in the browser. Now you can download the desktop version, and keep everything on your own computer with Gapminder Desktop:

    Gapminder Desktop is particularly useful for presentations as it allows you to prepare your graphs in advance and you won’t need an Internet connection at your lecture or presentation.

    In the "list of graphs" you will get at preset list of graphs on the left side, but you can also very easily create your own favorite examples. Simply arrange the graph the way you want it and click “bookmark this graph”. Your example will the appear in your own list of favorite graphs. Perfect when you want to prepare a lecture or presentation.

    Basically, it's the exact same thing as the online version as an Adobe Air application, which is handy for all you motion graph fans out there.
    Continue Reading

  • How Britain has changed since 1997

    July 7, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    How Britain has changed in the past decade

    Prospect Magazine takes a look at how Britain has changed by the numbers from 1997 to present:

    Richer, fatter, living longer, more indebted, drunker, better connected, politically disillusioned: there’s no metric that can describe whether we are happier or living better lives after 13 years of Labour. But there are plenty to show how we have changed during a period of fulsome spending, borrowing and technological transformation.

    The four pages of graphics are well-organized with just the right balance of color and iconography, to keep the reader engaged without going oatmeal on the numbers.

  • JavaScript InfoVis Toolkit 2.0 released

    July 6, 2010  |  Software, Statistical Visualization

    the Jit treemap example

    Visualization in JavaScript is all the rage these days. Just a couple of years ago, this would've seemed ridiculous because the engines were too slow, but no more of that. To that end, Nicolas Garcia Belmonte just released his JavaScript InfoVis Toolkit 2.0. It's got your treemaps, stacked area charts, pie charts, weighted graph, so on and so forth. You can see all the demos, plus code examples to get the full picture.

    This is not dissimilar to Protovis from the Stanford visualization group. Although, I'm told the JIT is fully functioning in Internet Explorer. Protovis only partly works in IE right now.

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