Author Archive: Michael

Stephen Few: Now You See It

Portland

Readers:

Stephen_Few2I was in Portland, Oregon last week attending three data visualization workshops by industry expert, Stephen Few. I was very excited to be sitting at the foot of the master for three days and soak in all of this great dataviz information.

Last Thursday, was the third workshop, Now You See It which is based on Steve’s best-selling book (see photo below).

To not give away too much of what Steve is teaching in the workshops, I have decided to discuss one of our workshop topics, human perceptual and cognitive strengths.

You can find future workshops by Steve on his website, Perceptual Edge.

Best Regards,

Michael

Now You See It

 

Designed for Humans

Good visualizations and good visualization tools are carefully designed to take advantage of human perceptual and cognitive strengths and to augment human abilities that are weak. If the goal is to count the number of circles, this visualization isn’t well designed. It is difficult to remember what you have and have not counted.

Quickly, tell me how many blue circles you see below.

Design for Humans 1

The visualization below, shows the same number of circles, however, is well designed for the counting task. Because the circles are grouped into small sets of five each, it is easy to remember which groups have and have not been counted, easy to quickly count the number of circles in each group, and easy to discover with little effort that each of the five groups contains the same number of circles (i.e., five), resulting in a total count of 25 circles.

Design for Humans 2

The arrangement below is even better yet.

Design for Humans 3

Information visualization makes possible an ideal balance between unconscious perceptual and conscious cognitive processes. With the proper tools, we can shift much of the analytical process from conscious processes in the brain to pre-attentive processes of visual perception, letting our eyes do what they do extremely well.

Co.Design Infographic of the Day: Mankind’s Greatest Architectural Achievements Since Prehistory

3036227-poster-p-1-mankinds-architectural-achievements-since-prehistory-visualized

Pop Chart Lab’s latest infographic charts the most significant works of architecture since 4,800 B.C.

Yet another creation has rolled off the powerhouse infographics assembly line over at Pop Chart Lab, and this time, the indefatigable taxonomizers of alcohols and famous quotes have turned their attention to works of architecture.

The Schematic of Structures organizes what the designers describe as “90 eminent edifices erected and perfected throughout history.” Arranged by height, the infographic lines up some of the greatest works envisioned and built by man since prehistory, from the Neolithic Cairn of Barnenez and the Parthenon to more modern creations like London’s Gherkin and the Burj Khalifa. The White House even makes an appearance.

3036227-inline-i-1-mankinds-architectural-achievements-since-prehistory-visualized

Pop Chart Lab

Designed in imitation of a blueprint, the infographic is expansive in scope and information (if not extraordinarily innovative in execution). The buildings are presented along a simple grid design, and drawn in two different scales (so as to allow the 2,722-foot-tall Burj Khalifa to appear on the same poster as the 25-foot-tall Stonehenge). Along with an illustration of each structure, the poster includes the location and approximate date of construction, as well as its primary architectural style.

Pre-order the poster here for $23.

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Source: Shaunacy Ferro, Mankind’s Greatest Architectural Achievements Since Prehistory, Co.Design, Fast Company, September 24, 2014, http://www.fastcodesign.com/3036227/infographic-of-the-day/mankinds-greatest-architectural-achievements-since-prehistory?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=codesign-daily&position=1&partner=newsletter.

Stephen Few: Information Dashboard Design

Readers:

Stephen_Few2I am in Portland, Oregon this week attending three data visualization workshops by industry expert, Stephen Few. I am very excited to be sitting at the foot of the master for three days and soak in all of this great dataviz information.

Today, was the second workshop, Information Dashboard Design which is based on Steve’s best-selling book (see photo below).

To not give away too much of what Steve is teaching in the workshops, I have decided to discuss one of the dashboard exercises we did in class. The goal here was to find what we feel is wrong with the dashboard.

I will show you the dashboard first. Then, you can see our critique below.

You can find future workshops by Steve on his website, Perceptual Edge.

Best Regards,

Michael

Information Dashboard Design

 

Dashboard To Critique

CORDA Airlines Dashboard

Critique Key Points

  • Top left chart – Only left hand corner chart has anything to do with flight loading
  • Top left chart – are flight numbers useful?
  • Two Expand/Print buttons – Need more clarity (right-click on chart would be a better choice)
  • Top right chart – Poor use of pie charts – size of pies are telling largest sales channel – use small multiple bar charts, total sales as a fourth bar chart
  • Redundant use of “February” – In the title and in charts
  • Bottom left chart – why does it have a pie chart in it?
  • Bottom right chart  – map may be better as a bar chart (geographical display could be useful if we had more information). Current way bubbles are being expressed is not useful (use % cancellations instead). Symbols may have a different meaning every day
  • Bottom right chart – CORDAir Logo – is this necessary?
  • Location of drop-down. Not clear if it applies to top left chart or all charts
  • Backgrounds – heavy colors, gradients
  • Instructions should be in a separate help document. Only need to learn this once.
  • Top left chart: Faint Image in background. Suppose to look like a flight seating map. Do you really want to see this every day? It is a visual distraction.
  • IMPORTANT: Is there visual context offered with any of the graphs? No. This is critical.

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Dashboard Example Source: Website of Corda Technologies Incorporated, which has since been acquired by Domo.

Stephen Few: Show Me The Numbers

Readers:

Stephen_Few2I am in Portland, Oregon this week attending three data visualization workshops by industry expert, Stephen Few. I am very excited to be sitting at the foot of the master for three days and soak in all of this great dataviz information.

Yesterday, was the first workshop, Show Me the Numbers which is based on Steve’s best-selling book (see photo below).

To not give away too much of what Steve is teaching in the workshops, I have decided for today to show a “before and after” example with Steve’s explanation of why he made the changes he did.

You can find future workshops by Steve on his website, Perceptual Edge.

Best Regards,

Michael

Show Me the Numbers

 

“Before” Example

In the example below, the message contained in the titles is not clearly displayed in the graphs. The message deals with the ratio of indirect to total sales – how it is declining domestically, while holding steady internationally. You’d have to work hard to get this message the display as it is currently designed.

Before - Show Me the Numbers

 

“After” Example

The revised example below, however, is designed very specifically to display the intended message. Because this graph, is skillfully designed to communicate, its message is crystal clear. A key feature that makes this so is the choice of percentage for the quantitative scale, rather than dollars.

After - Show Me the Numbers

Additional Thoughts From Steve

The type of graph that is selected and the way it’s designed also have great impact on the message that is communicated. By simply switching from a line graph to a bar graph, the decrease in job satisfaction among those without college degrees in their later years is no longer as obvious.

More Thoughts - Show Me the Numbers

Infographic: Mount Hood, Portland, Oregon (Ben VanderVeen)

Readers:

Stephen_Few2I am in Portland, Oregon this week attending three data visualization classes by industry expert, Stephen Few. I am very excited to be sitting at the foot of the master for three days and soak in all of this great dataviz information.

Ben VanderveenTo follow my theme of highlighting cities I visit, I found an inforgraphic created by Ben VanderVeen of Mount Hood. Ben is a filmmaker and designer living on the west coast. On his website you will find examples of his design work, video projects, documentary film and more. If you are interested in hiring Ben for a project or working collaboratively, visit his contact page here.

Stay tune for highlights of each of the three classes by Stephen Few over the next few days.

Best Regards,

Michael

 

MtHood1024

DataViz Chart: The Buildings of Detroit – Erin Jang

Readers:

Spirit of DetroitAs many of you know, I am a born and raised Detroiter. Despite living in Arizona most of my adult life, I still root for the hometown sports team, seem to be able to find another Detroiter in a crowded room, and long for Sanders Hot Fudge and Lafayette Coney Island hot dogs and hamburgers.

Erin JangI came across this beautiful chart of buildings in Detroit created by Eric Jang on her blog, The Indigo Bunting. Erin Jang is an art director and designer living in New York City. She has worked as a designer/illustrator/art director at several publications including Esquire magazine and was the senior art director at Martha Stewart Living magazine.

She now runs a design studio called The Indigo Bunting (theindigobunting.com) and works on custom freelance design projects and wedding invitations. Her design and illustration work has been recognized by PRINT magazine, Communication Arts, and the Society of Publication Design. She can be contacted at erin [at] theindigobunting [dot] com.

Check out Erin’s other work on her blog. It is truly beautiful.

Best regards,

Michael

Detroit Building Chart

Buildings of Detroit

Illustrations of 16 historical buildings in Detroit

Art Director: Jessica Decker
DBusiness Magazine, March 2013.

Buildings of Detroit Magazine

References:
[1] Erin Jang, NEW WORK: Detroit Building Chart, The Indigo Bunting, 4/2/13, http://theindigobunting.blogspot.com/2013/04/new-work-detroit-building-chart.html.
[2] Bella Figura, Erin Jang Photo and Bio, http://www.bellafigura.com/designers/jang.html.

Infographic: The Evolution of iOS from iOS 1 – iOS 8 (From 7DayShop.com)

The-Evolution-of-iOS-1-to-8_736px

Infographic: Vitamins Cheat Sheet – What They Do and Good Food Sources

Readers:

This infographic is from Lifehack and provides us a Vitamins Cheat Sheet.

Hoi Wan from Lifehack states:

When it comes down to healthy eating and balanced diets, we need to make sure we get our fair share of vitamins. But what do they actually do? What are the benefits and what food sources are they available in? Here’s a handy infographic we prepared for you to share, print out, re-use as a handy reference sheet. The next time you are preparing a meal, or shopping, you’ll have a good idea which food contains which vitamins, and remember, when you’re cooking the food, it’s a myth that the vitamins will be ‘cooked out’.

Stay healthy.

Michael

vitamin_mineral_inforgraphic3-011

DataViz: Chart-Topping Songs as Graphs and Diagrams (From FlowingData)

Billboard ranked the top 100 songs since the creation of their Hot 100 list in 1958. The list is based on airplay and sales.

Chart-topping-songs

Tableau Customer Conference 2014 (TCC14): Keynote with Christian Chabot and Chris Stolte on the Art of Analytics

Tableau Keynote 2014

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