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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

Infographic Design

Looking for help creating your own infographics?  Randy’s infographic and data visualziation design company:

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Entries in death (16)

Tuesday
Oct142014

20th Century Death

20th Century Death infographic

20th Century Death infographic from Information is Beautiful, visualizes the main causes of death during the 20th century by grouping each cause into general categories and then branching off more specifically.

Visualizing the major causes of death in the 20th Century.

Originally a 6m x 2m commission by the Wellcome Collection as a companion piece to the London exhibition: ‘Death: A Self-Portrait – The Richard Harris Collection’ (Nov 2012).

Appropriate choice of color scheme since red has a negative association like death, and red, orange, and yellow are an analogous color scheme due to their proximity on the color wheel. I would have loved to see more graphic pictures like the ones used in the infectious disease group and the animal subgroup.

I think this is a great application of a bubble chart. The audience isn’t trying to make specific value comparisons, but instead should get a general feel for the large differences in the causes of death.

I love that David McCandless and his team has made his data transparent and available to anyone. The data values are posted in a public Google Spreadsheet available at http://bit.ly/20thdeath

Found on Information is Beautiful

Friday
Aug292014

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics

Accuracy is the most important aspect of an infographic design!

Last week, the article The Truth about the Ice Bucket Challenge by Julia Belluz on Vox Media included the infographic, Where We Donate vs. Diseases That Kill Us, that used proportionally sized circles as its data visualization. The problem with this design is that the circle sizes don’t match the values shown. This is a false visualization and significantly over exaggerates the smaller amounts of money contributed to each charity and the deaths attributed to each cause.

This causes problems because readers often just look at the visuals without reading the actual numbers. They start with the assumption that a visualization accurately represents the data. The Vox Media story and infographic already have over 12,000 shares on Facebook, and this is a great case study for designers to understand how important it is to visualize data accurately.

As readers, we see the area of two-dimensional shapes on the page to represent the different values, but design software only allows width and height adjustments to size shapes. Designers make the mistake of adjusting the diameter of circles to match the data instead of the area, which incorrectly sizes the circles dramatically. It takes some geometry calculations in a spreadsheet to find the areas and then calculate the appropriate diameters for each circle. To demonstrate, I created this corrected version of the infographic.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised

My Google Docs spreadsheet of the correct circle area and diameter calculations is available here.

Assuming this was a design mistake, and there was no intent to deceive the audience, this is a common mistake that many designers make.  So many designers, that I included an entire section on this topic in the Cool Infographics book to help designers understand how to size the area of circles.

I made one other improvement to the corrected design above by removing the color legend and listing the charities and causes of death right next to the appropriate circles. This makes the whole visualization easier for the audience to read by eliminating the need to look back-and-forth from the circles to the color legend to figure out what each circle represents.  Placing the text next to each circle keeps the information in the reader’s field of view which minimizes eye movement.

Sticking with the circles data visualization style, I wanted to take the design a little bit further. I would recommend one of two alternate improvements.  First, adding colored connecting lines is one way to make it easier for the audience to find the related circles in the columns sorted in descending order.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised Lines

A second alternative would be to sort the lists to line up the related circles.  This makes it much easier for the audience to see the direct comparisons between charitable contributions and death rates related to the same cause.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised Descending Sort

I’m passing over any discussion about whether using proportionally sized circles (a bubble chart) is the best visualization method for this data. If a designer makes the choice to use sized shapes, my point is that the data visualizations in the infographic must match the numbers using area.  David Mendoza published a good analysis worth reading and designed an alternative way to visualize the data in his article, This Bubble Chart Is Killing Me.

How else would you improve this design?

NOTE: I was able to contact the designer who created the infographic at Vox Media, and he had already realized his error after the infographic had been published. As I had guessed, he had mistakenly adjusted the diameter of the circles instead of the area. He told me that he’s working on updating the official infographic design in the article, but it hasn’t been published on the Vox Media site yet.


 

Friday
May022014

The Deadliest Animal in the World

The Deadliest Animal in the World is an infographic posted by Bill Gates on his blog as part of Mosquito Week.

What would you say is the most dangerous animal on Earth? Sharks? Snakes? Humans?

Of course the answer depends on how you define dangerous. Personally I’ve had a thing about sharks since the first time I saw Jaws. But if you’re judging by how many people are killed by an animal every year, then the answer isn’t any of the above. It’s mosquitoes.

When it comes to killing humans, no other animal even comes close. Take a look:

Considering their impact, you might expect mosquitoes to get more attention than they do. Sharks kill fewer than a dozen people every year and in the U.S. they get a week dedicated to them on TV every year. Mosquitoes kill 50,000 times as many people, but if there’s a TV channel that features Mosquito Week, I haven’t heard about it.

This infographic does a number of things right from a design perspective, but the major point is that as humans we see the two-dimensional area of objects as representing the values.  This design uses both the width and height of the rectangles to visualize the scale of deaths caused by the various animals.

Sometimes it might be too subtle.  For example, the width is the same for the rectangles for tapeworms and crocodiles, but the height of the tapeworm box has twice the height to represent the value correctly.

The other thing it does well is to tell one story really well.  There’s isn’t any extraneous information like geographic locations or animal populations.  The infographic focuses on communicating one set of data.

Because the infographic will be shared online without the rest of the article, there are three piece of information that are missing from this design:

  1. The Gates Notes logo, or some type of identification of who published the infographic
  2. A copyright or Creative Commons license state to clearly identify the rights for people sharing the infographic
  3. The URL of the article where readers can find the original, full-size infographic and the associated text.

Thanks to Peter for recommending the link!

Tuesday
Apr082014

Where Does Your Money Go When You Die?

Where Does Your Money Go When You Die? infographic

Do you know what happens to your assets once you die? Gorman & Jones has created a flow chart infographic to answer the question, Where Does Your Money Go When You Die? If you have a Will, no worries! If you don’t, maybe this flow chart will convince you to write one once you see who will inherit your things!

For many people, the concept of death and the consequences for those we leave behind is scary. While dwelling on this subject can be unpleasant, it’s important to know that your family is going to be taken care of when you die. Do you know where your money is going? To get a better idea of what happens to our assets when we pass on, here is a guide to help answer the question, “Where Does Your Money Go When You Die?”.

What a great, informative topic for a law firm that covers estate law.  I wish the different splits of the estate were visualized, but overall a good topic and design.

I like that the design company is given credit in the footer, but it’s missing the URL to the infographic landing page.  The link to the Gorman & Jones home page is fine, but there aren’t any links to the infographic there, so it doesn’t help readers find the original, full-size infographic.

Thanks to Andrew for sending in the link!

Thursday
May302013

Drones Kill - Animated, Interactive Visualization

Drones Kill - Animated, Interactive Visualization

Great data visualization design from Pitch Interactive.  Out of Site, Out of Mind is an animated data visualization of every U.S. drone strike in Pakistan since 2004 and the associated kills reported in the news.  There is also an interactive element is that the readers can hover their pointer over the visualization an more details appear in a popup window.  Visit the original site to see the animation.

Since 2004, the US has been practicing in a new kind of clandestine military operation. The justification for using drones to take out enemy targets is appealing because it removes the risk of losing American military, it’s much cheaper than deploying soldiers, it’s politically much easier to maneuver (i.e. flying a drone within Pakistan vs. sending troops) and it keeps the world in the dark about what is actually happening. It takes the conflict out of sight, out of mind. The success rate is extremely low and the cost on civilian lives and the general well-being of the population is very high. This project helps to bring light on the topic of drones. Not to speak for or against, but to inform and to allow you to see for yourself whether you can support drone usage or not.

The visualization is created in HTML5 and JavaScript. We recommend Chrome for the best viewing experience.

The challenge with gathering the data and how drone attacks are represented in the news is shown by the large OTHER category of victims.  Also, it’s the largest category of victims.  A data visualization like this is a tremendously effective way to bring this issue to light.

The category of victims we call “OTHER” is classified differently depending on the source. The Obama administration classifies any able-bodied male a military combatant unless evidence is brought forward to prove otherwise. This is a very grey area for us. These could be neighbors of a target killed. They may all be militants and a threat. What we do know for sure is that they are targeted without being given any representation or voice to defend themselves.

The visualization was created by Wesley Grubbs, and there is a video interview of him about the data visualziation process by The Huffington Post.

Thanks to Ray for sending in the link!

Friday
May102013

Shark Attack!

Shark Attack! infographic

Shark Attack! is a great infographic design collaboration between Ripetungi and Joe Chernov.  Based on data from a Huffington Post article, 100 Million Sharks are Killed Annually.

Recently received a Facebook message from content marketing wizard Joe Chernov linking to the Huffington Post article 100 million sharks are killed annually.  This was an astonishing fact and the enormity of the number made it difficult to wrap your head around.  Joe also shared an idea for a graphic to add context to this fact making it easier to comprehend, while exposing the outrageous ratio of the number of people sharks kill to the number of sharks people kill.

Great data visualization that shows readers the magnitude and scale of how many sharks are killed by humans every hour.  It also puts the 11,417 sharks killed value into context by comparing it against the 12 humans killed by sharks every year.  [EDITED]

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m convinced that death by shark attack would be a horrible way to go, but some days it’s good to be at the top of the food chain on Earth.

Friday
Nov302012

The Dangers of Speeding While Driving

The Dangers of Speeding While Driving infographic

Of course you already know that speeding is dangerous, but The Dangers of Speeding While Driving infographic from Chucker & Reibach highlights some of the statistics behind traffic incidents that result from putting the pedal to the metal!

The dangers of speeding are certainly well known to most drivers, either by getting a ticket for speeding from law enforcement or being part of an accident due to someone driving too fast or even having a loved one be a victim of excessive speeding. This infographic provides statistics about speeding, including how often speeding results in a fatality, how much does speeding actually cost and what are the main reasons that people speed. In the end, any reason a driver gives for speeding will never be worth the potential costs.

I like this design, and it lays out the relevant statistics for the reader in an easy to understand layout.

A few suggestions I would make to improve the design:

  • Too many of the statistics are shown in a large font text, but not visualized
  • Needs a URL to the original landing page of the infographic so readers can find the original, full-size version on sites that don’t link back correctly.
  • Needs a copyright or Creative Commons license statement in the infographic itself
  • How does speeding make gas more expensive?  I think it means that your car will use more gas per mile with a lower fuel efficiency (gas guzzler), but the stat wording says that you would pay $0.24 more per gallon.
  • The “Where People Speed” section is hard to understand.  Does the statistic “47% speed on roads 50MPH or less” mean that the speeding accidents happen at speeds less than 5-MPH or the speed limit on the road is 50MPH or less?  The visual speedometer implies it’s the speed of the car, but I think the stat meant the posted speed limit on the road.

Thanks to Shell for sending in the link!

Tuesday
Feb142012

Sinking of the RMS Titanic vs. Costa Concordia

RMS Titanic vs. Costa Concordia (Veja comparação entre o naufrágio do Costa Concordia e do Titanic infographic) from Ultimo Segundo in Brazil compares the crash of the Costa Concordia (Blue) to the Titanic (Red).

Alguns dos sobreviventes do acidente do Costa Concordia compararam o naufrágio do navio italiano, que tombou após bater em uma rocha na costa da Ilha de Giglio em 13 de janeiro, com o do Titanic. “Concebido para ser inafundável”, segundo a operadora White Star Line, o RMS Titanic naufragou em 15 de abril de 1912 após ter-se chocado com um iceberg no Oceano Atlântico duas horas e quarenta minutos antes, na noite do dia 14.

ENGLISH TranslationSome of the survivors of the crash of the Costa Concordia compared the sinking of the Italian ship, which sank after hitting a rock on the coast of the island of Giglio on 13 January, with the Titanic. Designed to be unsinkable,” according to the operator White Star Line, RMS Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after it collided with an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean two hours and forty minutes before the night of the 14th.

What a great design!  The best thing about this design is that it’s in Portuguese, but the visuals still make it understandable to anyone that doesn’t know the language!  I understand the comparison between ship sizes, the dates of service on the timeline, the passenger capacities and the number of people aboard during the final accidents.

Thanks to Guilherme for sending in the link!

Wednesday
Jan112012

Calendar Visualization of Fatal Car Crashes

I really like this data visualization from Nathan Yau at FlowingData.comVehicles Involved in Fatal Crashes 2010 takes a new look at the statistics released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Instead of plotting them on a traditional map, Nathan looked at the time data.

After seeing this map on The Guardian, I was curious about what other data was available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. It turns out there’s a lot and it’s relatively easy to access via FTP. What’s most surprising is that it’s detailed and fairly complete, with columns for weather, number of people involved, date and time of accidents, and a lot more.

The above shows vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2010 (which is different from number of crashes or number of fatalities). This data was just released last month, at the end of 2011 oddly enough. It’s a calendar view with months stacked on top of one another and darker days indicate more vehicles involved.

- Nathan Yau

As was suggested by others in the comments on FlowingData, I agree that since the weekends have the higher incidence rate, starting the week with Monday and moving Sunday to the last column may show that a little bit clearer.

Nathan has made all of the data avaialble for anyone that would like to try a visualization themselves.  Student project?

Monday
Nov142011

Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rates Aren't Improving

The charity, Pancreatic Cancer UK has released this infographic showing some stats that aren’t common knowledge.

We’ve put an infographic together to highlight the main stats about pancreatic cancer that are unknown - you know, less than 3% of people who are diagnosed will live to see five years post-diagnosis? Infographics can be gorgeous and fun but occasionally have a really important message at their heart.

I like the tree maps showing the difference between death rates and funding for the different forms of cancer.

Thanks to Laura for sending in the link!