Book Image

Visualize This

By : Nathan Yau‚ÄØ
Book Image

Visualize This

By: Nathan Yau‚ÄØ

Overview of this book

Visualize This is a guide on how to visualize and tell stories with data, providing practical design tips complemented with step-by-step tutorials. It begins with a description of the huge growth of data and visualization in industry, news, and gov't and opportunities for those who tell stories with data. Logically it moves on to actual stories in data-statistical ones with trends and human stories. the technical part comes up quickly with how to gather, parse and format data with Python, R, Excel, Google docs, and so on, and details tools to visualize data-native graphics for the Web like ActionScript, Flash libraries, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, HTML. Every chapter provides an example as well. Patterns over time and kinds of data charts are followed by proportions, chart types and examples. Next, examples and descriptions of outliers and how to show them, different kinds of maps, how to guide your readers and explain the data "in the visualization". The book ends with a value-add appendix on graphical perception.
Table of Contents (12 chapters)

Comparison

Often it’s useful to compare multiple distributions rather than just the mean, median, and mode. These summary statistics are after all descriptors of the big picture. They tell you only part of a story.

For example, I could tell you that the average birth rate for the world in 2008 was 19.98 live births per 1,000 population and 32.87 in 1960, so the birth rate was about 39 percent lower in 2008 than it was in 1960. That only tells you what’s going on in the center of the distribution though. Or is it even the center? Are there only a few countries that had high birth rates in 1960, bringing up the average? Did differences in birth rate increase or decrease over the past few decades?

You can make comparisons in lots of ways. You could go entirely analytical and not use visualization at all. (I spent a year learning about statistical methods in graduate school, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.) You could also go the other way and use visualization. Your...