Make a Moving Bubbles Chart to Show Clustering and Distributions

Use a force-directed graph to form a collection of bubbles and move them around based on data.

I’ve been playing around with moving bubbles lately. While they are perhaps not the most perceptually accurate way to show data, they do seem to help a lot of people grab on to the concept of distributions and how individual items, things, and events can add up to a bigger picture.

I used it show the simulated days of 1,000 people, household types in America, and even used them in lieu of histograms to show income distributions.

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About the Author

Nathan Yau is a statistician who works primarily with visualization. He earned his PhD in statistics from UCLA, is the author of two best-selling books — Data Points and Visualize This — and runs FlowingData. Introvert. Likes food. Likes beer.

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