Infographics Fix Jan.10.2013

:) Good

Intuitive. Trends obvious, details available.

:( Bad

Lacking in presentation or data.

8( Ugly

Confusing, misleading or worse!

CDC Beige Flu -- week ending Dec 29, 2012

CDC Beige Flu by

What's worse, yellow, orange or beige? I don't know either.

MLDemos by Basilio Noris

When confronted with a vast corpus of similar but different machine learning algorithms, Basilio Noris organized their operation visually and wrapped it in a gorgeous, interactive software package. Shown: a clustering algorithm at work.

Men's 100 Meter World Record Progression by Wikipedia

Vast ranges condense heavy labelling, hiding data points and reducing readability. Excess lines and extraneous colors distract.

Alternative: collapse y axis and simplify

R, Octave, and Python: Which Suits Your Analysis Needs? by Bei Lu

"Have" and "have not" as the same color has me seeing red. by Macros Weskamp

Web-based news dressed slickly and unabashedly as a treemap. Size denotes importance, color denotes section, luminosity denotes age.

NYTimes Skimmer by Andre Behrens

Alternative NYTimes interface is characteristically clean but better concept than implementation; it does little to guide the reader's eye or accomodate entrenched web browsing habit.

Security Headers Overview by SHODAN Research

This 4-data-point chart is almost completely empty! A table would waste less space.

Git Transport by Oliver Steele

A beautifully simple diagram of a workflow for a powerful but confusing piece of software.

Great Tree of Life by Leonard Eisenberg

Evolutionary history of life on Earth from the human perspective. Tree encodes parent/child relationship in edges, family in color and labeled timeline in concentric circles from the center.

Netflix Performance on Top Networks - USA by Netflix Tech Blog

Wrong chart type and bad legend give us an ugly holiday sweater of a chart where straight-forward performance figures are needed. Alternative: much clearer as a box plot.

Tell-All Telephone by Open Data City

Terrific dashboard exposes telecom data intuitively and puts the viewer in the driver's seat.

U.S. Exports to Egypt - 2009 by ?

This pie chart's color scheme makes me feel blue.

History of Religion by Maps of War

Motion graphic that does it right: intuitive color-coded progression coupled with synchronized, landmark-studded timeline and flexible viewer navigation.

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block by Matthew Bloch, Shan Carter & Alan McLean

Comprehensive census dataset presented intuitively and navigably. Large-scale ethnic and economic patterns emerge at a glance, details available.

Walmart & Sam's Club Growth by Nathan Yau

Attractive but insufficiently quantified. Year, store counts too far removed, change too quickly to reconcile with action. Replace with store count plot & timeline with map-synced cursor. Allow timeline navigation; quantify regional activity.

Reading, Writing and Earning Money by GOOD and Gregory Hubacek

Visualizing via CYM seems logical, even elegant — but produces a result only a printer could love. There's so much variation it is virtually impossible for an average person to understand despite the explanatory highlights.

BBC Budget 2008-9 by Guardian Datablog

Clear, concise color-coded treemap.

Visualizing Ownership in the Softdrink Industry by Philip H. Howard

Good idea: reveal highly consolidated industry. But inexact space-filling causes lie factor and random layout distracts. Consider treemapping or maybe tree/forest. Brainstorm: use consumer-recognizable company logos.

Mortality statistics England & Wales by Simon Rogers

Wasted space galore; most empty or displays bottom 1%. Randomized layout hides 2/3 largest groups at bottom. Absolute totals harder to compare than percentages. Treemap, sunburst or stacked bar chart preferable.

Coffee Drinks Illustrated by Lokesh Dhakar

Instantly intuitive. Makes me wonder what visualized recipes might look like.

Product Review by Consumer Reports

Comprehensive, trustyworthy and dense — but confusing scale () makes comparison difficult at a glance. Slight change would elucidate much, but tradition likely trumps clarity.

GE Appliance Energy Use by Lisa Strausfeld

Ineffective, unintuitive. Too much data hidden, too little exposed. User must memorize values as they mouse-over then mentally compare them. Icons, though nice, are not all obvious. A simple barchart would be an improvement.

How Big is the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill? by BBC

Instantly intuitive. Multi-axis scaling often misleads but works here: ovals compare easily and scaling geometrically normalizes huge differences. While I'd bet the recent spill data is criminally optimistic, the lies are rendered clearly.

The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook by Matt McKeon

Overall trend is clear but format is needlessly complex and animation makes comparisons difficult. Nitpick: clicking cycles dates mindlessly; allow arbitrary navigation. A line/bar chart reminiscent of Scott Sorli's Failure of The Common Sense Revolution[pdf] is much clearer.

Colours in Cultures by David McCandless

Table in circular form. Pretty art, baffling infographic. Visuals should expose patterns, not camoflage them. 84-item legend(!) overwhelms; label directly.

Alternative: unroll the circle. Patterns emerge: most agreed-upon topics; Japan/West correlation.

Election 2010: Can they cut it? (The deficit, that is) by David McCandless

Clear, intuitive Venn diagram compares, contrasts deficit-cutting budget proposals by UK political party and status. Clearest possible presentation for a complex dataset.

All time most popular tags by flickr

Sorted terms aid reference but exploration requires conceptual, not alphabetic, order. Why are animals and zoo so far apart?

Alternative: sort conceptually.

Afghanistan Stability/COIN Dynamics - Security by U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff

Death by PowerPoint. Overviews must focus on a single level of abstraction; this shows at least two. Attempted refactoring; overwhelmed.

IPv4 & IPv6 Internet Topology Map, January 2009 by CAIDA

Dense, comprehensible Internet Service Providers by connectivity, location. Obvious: major provider names, sizes by color, connections by position; IPv6's unpopularity. Details: comparisons by latitude, continent, major cities; dearth (but not lack) of ISPs in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

29 June 1999 by The Internet Mapping Project

What is a map with no labels, no landmarks, no legend, no orientation and no scale? Undoubtedly a lot of information, but like coffee beans in a civet it's going to waste.

2005 Internet Map by The Opte Project

Like an upchucked hairball this has structure but is neither palatable nor informative.

Filesystem 'Ringschart' by Baobab

Visualizing filesystems isn't easy and Baobab's ringchart does it as well as any. Color discerns major subsystems, slice cirumference (not area) shows size and distance from center is depth. Working outwards makes sense as depth and filecount increase.

Stimulus Pie by Catherine Rampell

This text-swamped, 21-section rainbow pinwheel is representative of an average business world Excel graph and is all but illegible. At a glance I get ...a headache. Alternative: sunburst chart is natural for hierarchical data.

193% Republican Enthusiasm by Fox News Chicago

Something just doesn't add up here.

Crayola Color Chart 1903-2010 by Velo

Decades of color evolution presented intuitively. A glance reveals the overall trend, the color families' balance and palette update frequency. A closer look reveals the births and mysterious deaths of unpopular colors. Succeeds with flying colors.

Social Media Demographics: Who's Using Which Site? by Ethan Bloch

Demographics diluted. Patterns in data should dictate layout, not vice versa.

Alternative: condense, sort, align. Interesting correlations emerge.

How Life in Iraq Has Changed by Jenny Ridley

An incomprehensible and arbitrary sampler of color and form.

Height by Randall Munroe

Evoking Powers of Ten in a single frame, this stellar graphic wastes no space packing 46 billion light-years of material into it. While visualizing a mere one variable it is clever, engaging and informative.

How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online? by David McCandless

Purportedly illustrates monthly minimum wage-earning salary by media unit sales. Wastes right 1/4 comparing artist vs. label revenue and the bottom 2/3 on 3 big pink circles which demonstrate, to the surprise of no one, that free internet radio play pays poorly. Alternative: table highlighting minimum sales rates.

Who Owns the Most Servers? by intac admin

Artist must have been paid by the pixel because he used screenfuls on just 15 data points. We can easily see one area dominating all the rest much so that the majority is completely empty! Relative comparison of other areas reveals glaring errors. The top red block is larger than the yellow and green boxes next to it, yet represents fewer items. Alternative: increase data density and decrease lie factor.

Movie Charts 2009 by Zach Beane

Weekly box office standings, earnings. At a glance we notice blockbuster movies and weeks. Closer view divines #1 sleeper Paranormal Activity vs. Transformers' short-lived cash-out. y-axis rules and flat shapes allow for inter-film and inter-week comparison.

The Ebb and Flow of Movies by Lee Byron

Better art than infographic. Imparts some info (Christmas '97 was big) but details are nonexistent (How big?). Leading curves are pure artistic artifact and distort data. Insufficient data for meaningful answer.

How Can We Upgrade a 3D Pie Chart? by Benjamin Wiederkehr

Pristine result of lucid, iterative refinement. Perfection achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Not Your Mom’s Apple Pie Chart by Errol Morris

Fairly standard graphs, but more useless than necessary. Most space is blank; most ink is non-data. Data shriveled and scattered. Right half almost a complete waste. Labels are tiny, crowded, duplicated unnecessarily. Data hidden in labels. Random bar order. Alternative horizontal dual barchart consolidates scattered data.

Sun's Path from June to December by D.Mallon

Six-month photo exposure of Scottish skies produced this fantastic solargraph. Lines of light are the sun as it passes across the sky; highest line is the June 21 Summer solstice; the lowest the Dec 21 Winter solstice. The gaps are clouds. Six months of weather at once. I've written software to take six months of weather data and generate one.

Apple Revenue By Segment by Business Insider

Area chart stacked wrong. Only red and blue show variability; why are they on the bottom?
Alternative: Rearranging order by stability reveals stable $4B revenue base, dramatic iPhone growth. Subtle: iPod Christmas sales bulge.

Salt Mountains by Robin Richards

Areas scaled one-dimensionally producing exponential lie factor. Area of Small Fries at 160 vs Triple Whopper at 1590 isn't ten-fold, it's one hundred-fold. Oops. Groups sorted but individuals' placement appears strictly artistic. Why a legend when groups could be labelled directly? Alternative: barchart relative to daily recommendation is less sexy but more clear.

How Different Groups Spend Their Day by Shan Carter, Amanda Cox, Kevin Quealy and Amy Schoenfeld

Excellent interactive infographic. Lots to say, speaks plainly. Intuitive layout and navigation. Graphics simplify, interactive comparisons enlighten.

Microsoft Operating Profit By Divison by Business Insider

Stacked area chart with three subtle flaws. Green area is most volatile, it should be on top. Bottom areas erroneously overlap. Rightmost peak truncated -- that's the most important one! Alternative reveals Office's steadiness. Closer: Entertainment waffles in and out of profitability.