Week 6: Data visualization critique

The visualizations in this slide deck are pretty rough and are missing a few things to make them useful communication tools. Across the five examples I selected below, each one would need someone to thoroughly explain the visualization, otherwise it’s meaningless. It takes a while between seeing each visualization and understanding it. And often, you need more information to understand just what you’re looking at.

Slide 7

Slide 7 above has a few obvious failures, particularly around the design. This graph needlessly includes tick marks and graph lines, which are distracting from the overall visualization. Additionally, the labelling is redundant with each data point and the Y-Axis being labeled. The years along the X-axis are diagonal. Each line graph’s title is also smaller than the key takeaway. We also have two line graphs, when one would be suitable by having both lines on the same plot.

Slide 8

This visualization is the definition of a mess. We have redundant labelling again and each point along the X-axis is marked when we could have just one. I’m also left wondering why other schools are included here and what their relation to everything else is. Also the title doesn’t follow style rules around being left justified and there isn’t a takeaway either. What is this even telling me?

Slide 9

Here, we have diagonal labels on the X-axis. The spacing between each bar in the bar chart, particularly for the Arizona State data point, aren’t adequately stacked. I’m also just generally unsure how any of this relates? What are the letters other than Arizona State communicating? We also sort of have two Y-axis here with the Cal State System and UC systems being represented there randomly. And the N is being represented here, and I’m unsure why.

Slide 18

The colors aren’t intentional here, they also aren’t legible in black and white and they aren’t suitable for those with colorblindless. Also, there isn’t any intentionality around how the schools on the Y-Axis are organized. It’s in the same order each time and while ASU generally exceeds the others, with the Share of Research Expenditures where UA outperforms ASU in two of the four categories, I’m unsure why UA might not be ahead in this instance.

Slide 19

Again, the colors are all off, as this wouldn’t be presented well in black and white, those with colorblindness wouldn’t be able to see this well, the colors aren’t intentional too. There isn’t a clear takeaway to read here either and we’re getting too many labels.


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