The White House released a video of last week’s State of the Union address, with a split screen showing supporting charts, diagrams, and talking points. It’s not a brilliant model of visualization best practices by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a step in the right direction, and represents a recovery from the ridicule that Ross Perot received for using charts on the national political stage in 1992.
For further insight (on both design and economic issues), I HIGHLY RECOMMEND watching this in conjunction with Jodi Beggs critique over at Economists Do it With Models.
An interesting (ok, quick poll: should I stop calling things interesting? I only post stuff I think is interesting – seems a bit redundant, no?) long term look at new technology. At first look, it’s a bit boring and geeky – but the interactive popup descriptions really flesh it out. It would be easy to quibble about where things fall on the timeline, but overall I really enjoyed reading about all the hypothetical tech. Now that we have realized most of the science fiction from the 1900s, it was nice to see that we still have ways to dream and imagine. (via)
Here’s an example of how more isn’t always better. Compare the interactive presentation of retail sales data below to the static version – both from the Wall Street Journal. In my opinion the static version presents the information in a much clearer and usable format. The only thing it’s missing is a chart for “total retail sales”. Regarding the interactive version, I’ve never liked stacked bar charts over time unless they illustrate very clear trends – with this many similar segments I think they are pretty silly (though the ability to drill down does alleviate this a smidgeon). (related article)
This is an interesting example because they really tried to have every part of the graphic convey information: color, size, and line type. (via The Big Picture)
If you look at the 2011 update of the report, you can see they have used a similar, but somewhat cleaner design. The labels are all clearer, and the use of a lighter background map and grey text improves the contrast considerably. Finally, I think using the color of the arrows instead of width for the value was a good call – as that’s easier for the eye to distinguish.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any software that let’s you produce these quickly – you generally have to draw them by hand.
Based on a survey of 1000 British adults, this interactive display lets you select questions and filter answers in a variety of interesting charts, where each dot represents a person in the survey. The live animations are really cool, though some of the presentations are more effective than others.
Harvard has released an interesting new index of “economic complexity” which is the productive knowledge of the economy, based on analysis of its output composition.
… the Economic Complexity Index (ECI) is based on the number and the complexity of the products that a country exports with comparative advantage. Empirically, countries that do well in this index, given their income level, tend to achieve higher levels of economic growth. The ability to successfully export new products is a reflection of the fact that the country has acquired new productive knowledge that will then open up further opportunities for progress.
The index is then used to make detailed growth projections, and identify export opportunities on a country-by-country basis.
There are also interactive versions of most of these visualizations that you can explore and filter:
Dark sky is an interesting short-term (<60 minutes) weather app. The creators interpolate weather radar information and present it based on your GPS location in the form of a smooth animation, along with a precipitation estimate. So instead of knowing that there’s a 50% chance of rain in your region that afternoon (typical weather forecast), you’d know if there was a very likely chance of rain falling on your head in the next 15 minutes. The app is currently in development, and there’s a Kickstarter campaign if you want to contribute to the cause. There’s also a blog post that explains in more detail how they are using the standard NOAA data.
Eric Fischer analyzed twitter meta data for location and language and ended up with a pretty good approximation of the normal geopolitical borders. He chose grey for English, since they speak that everywhere – it would be interesting to see a map of just English. There’s also a world version. (via FlowingData)
Hacking money with graphics to draw attention to economic inequalities. I love that they included accurate titles and legends. (via Ritholtz)
These types of positive/negative word content analysis usually raise more questions than they answer (and there is discussion on that over at FlowingData), but they sure are pretty.
A nice interactive analysis of Chinese investment. Click on the sector symbols below the colored bar graph to filter the data.
Interesting photo timeline design idea. To be fair, they should have used a linear scale. (via; thanks to David Cramer for the link).
An addictive collection of beautiful charts, graphs, maps, and interactive data visualization toys -- on topics from around the world.