Design  / 

Guides for Visualizing Reality

We like to complain about how data is messy, not in the right format, and how parts don’t make sense. Reality is complicated though. Data comes from the realities. Here are several guides to help with visualizing these realities, which seem especially important these days.

Visualizing Incomplete and Missing Data

We love complete and nicely formatted data. That’s not what we get a lot of the time.

Visualizing Outliers

Step 1: Figure out why the outlier exists in the first place. Step 2: Choose from these visualization options to show the outlier.

Visualizing Differences

Focus on finding or displaying contrasting points, and some visual methods are more helpful than others.

Visualizing Patterns on Repeat

Things have a way of repeating themselves, and it can be useful to highlight these patterns in data.


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How I Made That: Animated Difference Charts in R

A combination of a bivariate area chart, animation, and a population pyramid, with a sprinkling of detail and annotation.

How to Make a Semicircle Plot in R

It’s the half cousin of the bubble plot with less overlap and more straight edges.

How to Make an Interactive Stacked Area Chart

Stacked area charts let you see categorical data over time. Interaction allows you to focus on specific categories without losing sight of the big picture.

R Cheat Sheet and Guide for Graphical Parameters

You can customize graphics in R with par(), but the docs are mostly text and just organized alphabetically. Here is a more visual reference, categorized by what you can change. Plus, a one-page printout.


How Much the Everyday Changes When You Have Kids

I compared time use for those with children under 18 against those without. Here’s where the minutes go.

Visualizing the Uncertainty in Data

Data is an abstraction, and it’s impossible to encapsulate everything it represents in real life. So there is uncertainty. Here are ways to visualize the uncertainty.

Top Brewery Road Trip, Routed Algorithmically

There are a lot of great craft breweries in the United States, but there is only so much time. This is the computed best way to get to the top rated breweries and how to maximize the beer tasting experience. Every journey begins with a single sip.

How We Spend Our Money, a Breakdown

We know spending changes when you have more money. Here’s by how much.