Two map one for tax dollars going from individual states to the Federal Government (dark red), the second for tax dollars going from the Federal Government to the states (blue). A third map would be nice showing the ratio between money in verses money out.
From the Tableau Software blog Ellie Fields posted an analysis last year comparing the amount collected from Employment tax (Social Security, Medicare, Federal Unemployment taxes which are taxed per employee) vs the amount collected from Corporate tax (which is taxed per dollar of profit). This is for the Federal Government only.
The first graph shows that since the 1960s the amount of taxes from employment has increased relative to corporate taxes
The second graph is plotting the % change in the different between employment and corporate taxes collected. As each recession hit (shown as thick lines of red and pink) taxes collected from employment drop faster (i.e. layoffs) than from corporate taxes (less profit).
An interactive graphic from the Wall Street Journal, which takes the data for 6 key financial indicators and stacks them while rollover text annotates the main events of the crisis. Created by Andrew Garcia Phillips, Stephen Grocer and Kate Milani.
I think the visual display of the data is very effective however the rollover text annotations are not effective since you can't use them to follow the underlining story in the data visualization.
While I appreciate Google Finance integrating the news story with the graphic which allows you to use the data visualization find related news stories you lose the different data series and there still is no coherent story for the graphic.
Still, I have found the most effective storytelling using data visualizations uses a person to narrate the story.
From a TED Talk in June 2006. What I love is the way he uses humor to make many of his points. Other good things in the video:
- Challenges preconceive notions people have about the subject.
- Talks to the data and interacts with it.
- He places the data in historical context by explaining what happened in each country.
- The data visualization is the presentation, not just a background slide for his talk.
- Performs research on his target audience (i.e. students) to understand what they need to know.
- The presentation is shot from more than one camera, showing him and the screen from different angles.
Watching him I see how controlling the display from his laptop is an obstacle. What he needs a way to interact directly with the screen through touch and gesture.
Another infographic comparing the last 18 months to the Great Depression. This time I am focusing on Prices, Inflation and Deflation.
Reading Nathan Yau's recent post about the Rise of the Data Scientist inspired me to take a look Ben Fry's dissertation on Computational Information Design in which he describes the process for understanding data as follows:
- acquire – the matter of obtaining the data, whether from a file on a disk or from a source over a network.
- parse – providing some structure around what the data means, ordering it into categories.
- filter – removing all but the data of interest.
- mine – the application of methods from statistics or data mining, as a way to discern patterns or place the data in mathematical context.
- represent – determination of a simple representation, whether the data takes one of many shapes such as a bar graph, list, or tree.
- refine – improvements to the basic representation to make it clearer and more visually engaging.
- interact – the addition of methods for manipulating the data or controlling what features are visible.
While I don't disagree that these steps represent the process for understanding data for the individual creating the data visualization, they don't cover a step needed to create a design that is readily understood or that is persuasive to others.
User research and testing of the design is needed to verify that the representation is clear and appropriate. Although this could be considered part of the refine step, it may be needed at other points in the process (i.e. represent, or interact). For anyone who is interested in creating data visualizations for other people, it should be considered an important part of the design process.
I found this interactive graphic on a site called Many Eyes displaying data about subprime loans by state. Click on the thumbnail to load the graph.
6/29/2008 I had to remove the interactive graph from my site because it was crashing the site search.