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Three most common mistakes in data visualization

Accompanying slides to my data visualization workshop. https://gorelik.net/2018/05/01/i-will-host-a-data-visualization-workshop-at-israels-biggest-data-science-event/

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Three most common mistakes
in data visualization 

and how to avoid them
Boris Gorelik, Ph.D.

boris@gorelik.net

http://gorelik.net
https://github.com/bgbg/datascience_dataviz_workshop
Why?
Competition
Boris Gorelik, Ph.D.

boris@gorelik.net

http://gorelik.net

http://data.blog
WooCommerce, Jetpack, …
Past
Present
https://automattic.com/work-with-us/
Three most common data visualization mistakes
A
B
C
Three most common data visualization mistakes
A
Course Title
Data-ink ratio
Information layers
Course Title
Data-ink ratio
Information layers
Gestalt principles
Science? Art?

Matter of taste?
A
Three most common data visualization mistakes
Attitude
Three most common data visualization mistakes
Data visualization
Explanatory Exploratory
Competition
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
0
10,000
1 2 3 4 5
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
70,000
80,000
90,000
100,000
Salaries
(U.S. $) Female vs. Male Salary Distributions
Pay Grades
110,000
0
10,000
1 2 3 4 5
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
70,000
80,000
90,000
100,000
Salaries
(U.S. $) Male vs. Female Salary Distributions
Pay Grades
110,000
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
987349790275647902894728624092406037070570279072
803208029007302501270237008374082078720272007083
247802602703793775709707377970667462097094702780
927979709723097230979592750927279798734972608027
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
“Pre-attentive attributes”
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common data visualization mistakes
A
B
C
Attitude

Evidence-based. Explanatory vs. Exploratory
Three most common data visualization mistakes
B
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Stimulus Sensory Organ
EyeEyeEye
Brain
Perceptual Organ
Iconic Memory Working Memory Long-term Memory
Sensation
(Physical Process)
Perception
(Cognitive Process)
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
Stimulus Sensory Organ
EyeEyeEye
Brain
Perceptual Organ
Iconic Memory Working Memory Long-term Memory
Sensation
(Physical Process)
Perception
(Cognitive Process)
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
Stimulus Sensory Organ
EyeEyeEye
Brain
Perceptual Organ
Iconic Memory Working Memory Long-term Memory
Sensation
(Physical Process)
Perception
(Cognitive Process)
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
Stimulus Sensory Organ
EyeEyeEye
Brain
Perceptual Organ
Iconic Memory Working Memory Long-term Memory
Sensation
(Physical Process)
Perception
(Cognitive Process)
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
Stimulus Sensory Organ
EyeEyeEye
Brain
Perceptual Organ
Iconic Memory Working Memory Long-term Memory
Sensation
(Physical Process)
Perception
(Cognitive Process)
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
“Pre-attentive attributes”
From "Show me the numbers” by Stephen C. Few
color
enclosure
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Edward Tufte

http://edwardtufte.com

Data-ink ratio

(signal-to-noise ratio)
Above all, show data
No data — no ink
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common data visualization mistakes
B
Three most common data visualization mistakes
Bullshit
Cut the
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Jean-luc Doumont

http://www.principiae.be

Information layers

(Useful redundancy)
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Data-ink ratio
Information layers
Data-ink ratio
Information layers
No BS
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common data visualization mistakes
B
Three most common data visualization mistakes
Build
https://gorelik.net/2017/12/10/the-y-axis-doesnt-have-to-be-on-the-left/
https://gorelik.net/2017/12/10/the-y-axis-doesnt-have-to-be-on-the-left/
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common data visualization mistakes
A
B
C
Attitude

Evidence-based.Explanatory vs. Exploratory
BS & Build

Remove, remove, remove. Use appropriate graph types.
Three most common data visualization mistakes
C
I need a volunteer
*** ******* ****** **** ***** *****
***** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******
****** ********* ****** ****** *****
RED GREEN BLUE RED BLUE GREEN
BLUE YELLOW RED RED BLUE GREEN
GREEN YELLOW RED GREEN BLUE
RED GREEN BLUE RED BLUE GREEN
BLUE YELLOW RED RED BLUE GREEN
GREEN YELLOW RED GREEN BLUE
TEXT
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Course Title
“So what?” vs. “What?”
Three most common data visualization mistakes
C
Three most common data visualization mistakes
Conclusion
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common mistakes in data visualization
Three most common data visualization mistakes
C Conclusions matter

”So what?” is more important than “what?”
Three most common data visualization mistakes
A
B
C
Three most common data visualization mistakes
A
B
C
Attitude

Evidence-based

Explanatory vs. Exploratory
Three most common data visualization mistakes
A
B
C
BS & Build

Remove, remove, remove.

Use appropriate graph types.
Three most common data visualization mistakes
A
B
C Conclusions matter

”So what?” is more important than “what?”
Three most common data visualization mistakes
Boris Gorelik, Ph.D.

boris@gorelik.net

http://gorelik.net
Course Title
Reading material
https://gorelik.net
Course Title

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Three most common mistakes in data visualization