Learning From Mistakes in Visualization

    Doing data visualizations correctly takes careful consideration. Incorrectly visualizing something can be misleading, embarassing, and even damaging to reputations. In order to do it correctly, it can often be useful to think about the visualization from several different angles before settling on the final version. Looking at good examples of data visualization is certainly a great way to learn, but equal value can be found in examining visualizations that didn’t work so well. I recently started a Tumblr for collecting examples of bad visualizations. The examples are often funny, but #WTFViz is not intended solely to be humorous. The examples are also there as educational material, showing what not to do. The data going into the visualization is the best place to start when selecting what visualization to use. There are subtle but complex concepts contained in data, and those need to be reflected accurately in the end visualization. For example, sometimes percentage data has part to whole relationships, and other times it represents overlapping sets. Sometimes people get this wrong, though, and create things like the man who is 243% Baby Boomer. Another thing that comes from the data is whether or not values are categorical or continuous. Line charts are great for continuous data, while bar charts are good at representing categorical dimensions. Ignoring what these charts are good at can produce things like this Line/Bar Chart Amalgam. Another common mistake is making things 3D for no reason. 3D charts almost never add meaningful information, and usually obscure the data. One particularly bad example is this Spiral Staircase Chart. Clearly labeling visualizations, and drawing diagrams that actually clarify things is also important. After all, the point of drawing it out is to help you communicate it to someone, not to confuse the heck out of them. Venn diagrams also have very definite relationships that they represent. Drawing things that mimic the Euler diagram format without the data to match the format is a great way to obfuscate your data. Unfortunately, the supply for WTFViz.net shows no signs of slowing, maybe because of the stupid things designers do when they are trying to be creative. Regardless of the reason, keep your eye out for bad visualizations that you can turn into learning experiences. Drew Skau is Visualization Architect at Visual.ly and a PhD Computer Science Visualization student at UNCC with an undergraduate degree in Architecture. You can follow him on twitter @SeeingStructure

    Rocking Lead Generation
    Webinar - The Resilient Marketers Guide to 2021
    Interactive Content Marketing Value Calculator
    Build Your Own Content Style Guide
    KIT Brand Guidelines Bundle
    Narrative Design: How product marketers can tell a story people can't ignore
    THE ULTIMATE BUYER PERSONA GENERATOR
    WORDPRESS GUIDE FOR CORPORATE BLOGS
    2021 MARKETING PLANNING BUNDLE
    INTERACTIVE CONTENT GUIDE
    SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
    ROCK CONTENT MAGAZINE The pillars of data-driven marketing
    PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE 3 marketing leaders share how Covid-19 changed their 2020 plans
    discover interactive content
    MARKET INTELLIGENCE
    CHECKLIST FOR WEBINARS
    talk to us visually
    MAKING CONTENT GROW INTO CUSTOMER FLOW
    The Resilient Marketers Guide to 2021
    Plan your 2021 marketing budget
    Quiz: Content Marketing Maturity
    Quiz: How Mature is Your Marketing Stack?
    How Mature is
    A COMPLETE GUIDE TO VISUALLY COMMUNICATE COMPLEX DATA
    HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ONLINE CONVERSIONS
    GETTING STARTED WITH INTERACTIVE CONTENT
    Talk to an expert
    create tailored experiences with Live
    live events with Rock Live
    improve your content marketing
    ROCK CONTENT MAGAZINE What is a content experience?
    Marketing budget calculator
    Idea Generator
    Increase your Ad Performance
    WEBINAR How to strengthen marketing strategies through technology
    Story is Strategy: Strategic Narrative as your Company's North Star
    Understanding the role of AI in marketing
    WEBINAR: Building and scaling your first sales machine
    The Role of Content in Aligning Marketing and Sales
    How to Innovate Content Marketing with a Product-Led Approach
    From the Past to the Future: HOW TO KEEP YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY COMPETITIVE
    Developing a new business category: how to make your brand stand out from the competition
    How content is leading the marketing rebellion
    Content Operations: the key to real performance
    Back to Future: How GE Keeps Reinventing Brand Journalism
    https://resources.rockcontent.com/jam-session-jason-miller
    Content Marketing Across Regions — the balance between global vs. local
    Social Impact Report 2020
    Interactive checklist -- increase blog's traffic
    2021 MARKETING CALENDARS
    What do you need, to make your Content Strategy Rock?
    How to Create a Rockstar Interactive Content Team
    Share
    Rock Content Writer Rock author vector
    Content writer at Rock Content.

    Subscribe to our blog

    Sign up to receive Rock Content blog posts

    Want to receive more brilliant content like this for free?

    Sign up to receive our content by email and be a member of the Rock Content Community!

    Our site is customized for each country we operate in.

    Go to English website ->