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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum
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Data Visualization and Infographic Design

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Entries in presidential (44)

Thursday
Aug252016

Examining the Real Cost of Donald Trump's Wall

Building Donald Trump's Wall infographic

Real Money has done the math and shared their findings in the infographic Examining the Real Cost of Donald Trump's Wall, designed by DesignBySoap. It appears that the actual cost of the wall would end up being 2-3 times more expensive than the publicly released estimate. Luckily, even many of his supporters do not believe he will build the wall. You can see the details of Trump's plan, as well as some statistics on how Americans feel about it in the infographic above.

Thanks to John for sending in the infographic!

Tuesday
Aug092016

Comparing Presidential Election Forecasts

Comparing Presidential Election Forecasts

In addition to their own forecast, the NY Times maintains a great graphic Comparison of Presidential Election Forecast Models showing the current results from of seven different election forecasts based on statistical models, expert predictions and even betting markets. The results are updated daily, so check the NY Times site for the most current information!

How Other Forecasts Compare

The New York Times is one of many news organizations to publish election ratings or forecasts. Some, like FiveThirtyEight or the Princeton Election Consortium, use statistical models, as The Times does; others, like the Cook Political Report, rely on reporting and knowledgeable experts’ opinions. PredictWise uses information from betting markets.

We compile and standardize these ratings every day into one scoreboard for comparison.

Each organization’s state-by-state ratings. Viewed together, the differences between the models become much clearer.

They also publish this simple complete prediction comparison showing the total predictions from each group:

Although they have built this in HTML5 on the website, anyone could create a similar comparison graphic style using Conditional Formatting in Excel. This is a great way to highlight differences and outliers in a table of data!

Wednesday
Aug032016

Very Few Americans Nominated Trump and Clinton

Designed by Alicia Parlapiano and Adam Pearce for the New York Times, this short series of data visualizations tell a very clear story about how Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees For the 2016 Presidential election.

The United States is home to 324 million people. Each square here represents 1 million people.

103 million of them are children, noncitizens or ineligible felons, and they do not have the right to vote.

88 million eligible adults do not vote at all, even in general elections.

An additional 73 million did not vote in the primaries this year, but will most likely vote in the general election.

The remaining 60 million people voted in the primaries: about 30 million each for Republicans and Democrats.

But half of the primary voters chose other candidates. Just 14 percent of eligible adults — 9 percent of the whole nation — voted for either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton will be working to win the votes of these three groups. Polls suggest they will be separated by just a handful of squares.

If you follow the news headlines, you might think a majority of Americans are in favor of one of our two Presidential nominees, but that would be a misunderstanding of election and population statistics.

This is a fantastic example of storytelling with data, and walking the audience through the data insight step-by-step.

Found on FlowingData

 

Tuesday
May172016

Election Exodus - Moving to Canada?

Election Exodus - Moving to Canada infographic

Frustrated by the U.S. Presidential candidates? Ready to just pack up and move the Canada? The Election Exodus infographic from SpareFoot looks closer at what it would take for Americans to move North to Canada.

Trump or Clinton.

The prospective of either of these presidential frontrunners emerging victorious in November is too much for many Americans to bear.

A shocking number of U.S. citizens would consider a move to Canada—15 percent if Hillary Clinton is elected and 20 percent if Donald Trump is elected, according to recent polls.  (To be fair, we’re willing to bet there would be plenty of supposed defectors under President Sanders or Cruz as well.)

The question remains: How serious are these people? And how hard is it to move to Canada?

The answers to these questions and more lie below:

Designed by NowSourcing, this is a visually busy take on the side-by-side comparison style of infographic. A lot of text, and many of the statistics are not visualized, which makes it harder for readers to understand all of the information.

Thanks to Brian for sending in the link!

Thursday
Jun052014

Legislative Explorer: Watch Government In Action

Legislative Explorer: Watch Government In Action

Legislative Explorer is an interactive, animated data visualization that visualizes the process of bills submitted by houses of Congress; the Senate on the left and the House of Representatives on the right.  Designed by Researchers at the University of Washington’s Center for American Politics and Public Policy, it’s a fascinating visualization that is mesmerizing to watch.

A deluge of data is challenging scientific researchers across disciplines to develop new techniques for detecting patterns in large and complex datasets. This general area of research is known as data-driven discovery, or ‘D3.’ Visualizations are a particularly important area of innovation because they help researchers to investigate complex processes at a more holistic level. The goal of Legislative Explorer is to leverage the same benefits of data-driven visualizations to advance understanding of government.

A more in-depth discussion of Legislative Explorer with multiple animations and videos is available at the Center for American Politics and Public Policy.

Anyone can use Legislative Explorer to observe large scale patterns and trends in congressional lawmaking without advanced methodological training. In addition, anyone can dive deeper into the data to further explore a pattern they’ve detected, to learn about the activities of an individual lawmaker, or to follow the progress of a specific bill. Start Exploring!

I selected the 99th Congress (1985-1986) for the screenshots, and you can see the party breakdown of both houses of Congress by their color.  Each icon represents a specific member of Congress which you can identify by hovering your mouse over the icon.  The animation will show a visual spray of bills introduced by members in both houses of Congress as party-color-coded dots that move into committees and through the steps to becoming a law.

Legislative Explorer: Watch Government In Action Zoom 

There are a number of user-definable filters to help narrow down the visualization to a specific party, only one committee, or even just to watching a single bill move through the proces.

Here’s a quick video tutorial:

Found on FlowingData

Thursday
Oct172013

What is the Debt Ceiling?

What is the Debt Ceiling infographic

What is the Debt Ceiling? from WorldSolo Index does a good job of using the combination of charts and text to make a complex issue more understandable to the readers.

The US Debt Ceiling is explained. The US is expected to reach its borrowing limit by Oct 17, 2013 if the borrowing limit is not raised. This infographic breaks down the debt ceiling in detail.

Good design that focuses on telling one story really well.

Found on Visually

Friday
Jul262013

Death & Taxes 2014 Poster and Interview

Death & Taxes 2014 poster infographic

The new 2014 Death & Taxes poster has been released, and it is fantastic!  Visualizing the President’s proposed budget for next year, each department and major expense item is represented with proportionally sized circles so the viewer can understand how big they are in comparison to the rest of the budget.

You can purchase the 24” x 36” printed poster for $24.95.

Since 2004, Death and Taxes has been depicting the federal budget and has grown into a powerhouse of information.

For the FY2014 budget, this poster contains over 500 departments, agencies, programs and just about everything else the government can spend money on. It is still the single most open and accessible record of government spending ever created. All in six square feet. 

Previously, the Death & Taxes series has been a project of Jess Bachman (ByJess.net), but this year the series has been taken over by the great team at Timeplots.  Owner Nathaniel Pearlman graciously spent some time answering some of my questions:

Cool Infographics: What’s new in the 2014 design of Death & Taxes?

Nathaniel Pearlman: Timeplots is continuing the Death & Taxes poster franchise, taking it over from its creator, Jess Bachman. We agreed to do this before the scheduled release of the FY2014 budget. To produce the poster efficiently and meet the expectations of an audience already familiar with its look and feel, we minimized big changes and largely stayed with Jess’s design aesthetic. We kept the location of departments, labeled and colored expenditure numbers in the same format; and, the Office of Governmental Ethics is still the smallest circle plotted on the poster. We did, however, make some subtle design changes.

In the bottom-right corner we converted pie charts to a bar chart. We also changed the “For Comparison” section bubble charts to horizontal bar charts. Bars also serve as a visual clue that the information here is different and you see immediately that they differ from the bubbles depicting the discretionary budget in the main area of the poster. We also unified the presentation style throughout the poster. We also omitted the “How much does it cost you” section. 

Cool Infographics: The Death & Taxes poster design is now being made by the team at Timeplots, what are the major differences from the prior posters that were designed by Jess Bachman?   

Nathaniel Pearlman: Timeplots has a four year history of visualizing complex data with compelling design. We have diverse skills and resources and may introduce changes in future posters like dark type against a lighter background for ease of reading; advancing visual unity either by replacing the photos with icons, or by making all color photographs more duotone, or monochromatic; and finally, crafting the type in the header section so that it has more personality. We are also thinking about how to improve the substance of the poster. We would love to hear feedback or suggestions for improvement from your readers.

Cool Infographics: When did the 2014 data become available, and how long did it take you design the poster?

Nathaniel Pearlman: The data was released on April 11, 2013. To prepare, we wrote some data queries and scripts based on the 2013 data about one week before the release. Once we got the 2014 data, we just ran the 2013 scripts. It took about two days to get all of the circles in place on the poster. The design and crafting took longer. The poster went out for review to experts about a month after the we got the data. Of course we were working on many other projects in between as well.

Cool Infographics: What software applications were used for the Death & Taxes poster design?

Nathaniel Pearlman: Scripting and plotting were done in R—an open source statistical application that we have used for other Timeplots posters. The design completed in Adobe Illustrator. Jess created the previous Death and Taxes with Excel and Photoshop, so there was no code or design template we could borrow or reuse. Our programming and design process was new to Death & Taxes, but we decided to go this route because this process would present data more accurately and make future updating much easier.

Cool Infographics: What’s the most interesting thing you learned from the 2014 data?

Nathaniel Pearlman: We guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, but data shows how trivial in the context of the whole budget are some of the biggest political tangles. Things like the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are very small by comparison to big ticket items.  The nice thing about the poster is that each viewer will be able to reach their own conclusions, based on the area of they wish to investigate or focus upon. Each department, each item, has its own story. 

Cool Infographics: Where do you have them printed, what are the printing specs and why?

Nathaniel Pearlman: The 2014 poster is on a 36” by 24” sized, 80 lb. cover paper. We use a local printer for offset printing and through a process of several proofs we have more control over the colors and the final look and feel of the print. The 2014 poster is slightly lighter than the 2012 one. The lighter paper can roll more easily into tubes without getting creases.

Cool Infographics: Social media has always been a big part of marketing the Death & Taxes poster.  What are your plans to promote the 2014 poster?

Nathaniel Pearlman: Social media is important to us. We have been receiving supportive comments and thoughtful suggestions through a number of channels. Death & Taxes has its own Facebook channel: (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Death-and-Taxes/373639641532). You can also follow Timeplots on Twitter (@timeplots) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/timeplots) to receive notice of latest news. Keep your eyes open to these places.

Graphicacy, (the consulting arm of Timeplots) is also working on an interactive version using the same budget data to pair with the poster. That interactive, presenting the same information, will enable interested viewers to explore the federal budget online.

The poster now sells at Timeplots and Amazon.  

Cool Infographics: Prior versions have been available online in a zooming viewer.  Is the 2014 version also available in this format?  What zooming tool is being used?

Nathaniel Pearlman: Yes, you are able to zoom on a watermarked version of the 2014 poster on our Timeplots site. The zoom tool is the default for our shopping content management system, and it allows for crystal-clear views of the information, watermarks aside. While you will have a good sense for the design and presentation of the poster by viewing it online and zooming-in on its details, we believe the print poster will surprise you with its vibrant colors on smooth paper, sharp type, and scale.

 You can also check out Jess Bachman’s thoughts about the new version in his blog post on Visual.ly

Monday
Jul222013

What the Health? Understanding Obamacare's 11 Year Health Plan

What the Health? Understanding Obamacare's 11 Year Health Plan infographic

Interested in the new health plan but have no idea what it means? What the Health? Understanding Obamacare’s 11 Year Health Plan infographic from Clarity Way breaks down each year of the 11-year health care plan of Obamacare. 

If the re-election of Barack Obama as America’s 44th President of the United States means anything, it is that American citizens can expect a little more consistency within their legislation. Among the most notable acts of legislation promised by Obama during both of his campaigns for the Presidency was the concern over America’s health care system.

When our 44th President first earned his chair in leading the nation, he immediately took initiative to put into action a new proposal for health care reform called the Affordable Care Act. And now that he has regained his position, we can count on seeing this initiative furthered in the next 4 years!

But among this 11 year plan was a ton of confusing political jargon, making it easy for Americans to misinterpret how the Act would impact themselves and their nation. So as a duty to our followers and role in the promotion of health, we wanted to create a little bit easier of an explanation of the Affordable Care Act!

This health reform infographic breaks down the Affordable Care Act in an effort to explain how it will affect each and every citizen, from small businesses to large ones, college students to parents, and senior citizens to the young! It’s important that you know about the Affordable Care Act and understand that if we had maintained our status-quo, over 14,000 Americans would lose their health insurance daily!

I think there’s too much text in this design, but it does walk the reader through each year, step by step.  The statistics should have been visualized.  Big fonts are NOT data visualizations, and I see this done by designers all the time.  Big fonts don’t provide any context, and don’t make the numbers any easier for the audience to understand.

Thanks to Adrienne for sending in the link!

Monday
May202013

The Obama Energy Agenda: Gas Prices 2013

The Obama Energy Agenda: Gas Prices 2013 infographic

The White House has released a new infographic in April 2013, The Obama Energy Agenda, Gas Prices.  We have seen the White release a number of infographics as a communication tool, and they have consistently been getting better.

Gas Prices

Explore the infographic to learn about President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.

The prior Energy Agenda infographic I reviewed was in April of 2011, and it was a rough, early attempt at an infographic design for online publication.  This design is significantly better, and has a number of good points to highlight that all designers can learn from.

First, the data visualizations are well done with the chart axes clearly labeld and units of measure clearly shown.  The color scheme is simple and easy to understand, but some of the small, gray text is hard to read on the white background.

Second, the big issue with the prior designs was the lack of sources for the data.  This design does a good job of citing the source of data for each visualization (chart).  For an administration that is attempting to increase transparency, the sources are still very vague.  I would like to see URL links to the actual reports or data sets referenced to make it easy for readers to check out the data on their own.  Instead, most of the sources are listed as just “EIA” which is the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Certainly a step in the right direction, but could have much done better.

Third, there isn’t an obvious, clear Key Message.  Most readers only look at an infographic for less than 5 seconds, and it’s the designer’s responsibility to communicate the key message in that short time.  The rest of the information should tell a good story, and support the Key Message, but isn’t required reading.  There’s a lot of data shown in this design.  Probably too much data.  It’s hard for readers to understand the flow of information because there is both top-to-bottom sequence of sections and side-by-side charts.

The area chart in the center of the design draws the reader’s attention because it is so large in relation to the rest of the charts.  This visually implies that it is the most important data in the whole design, but I’m not sure that was the intent.

After reading through the whole design, I believe that the Key Message is “The Obama Administration has supported increased domestic drilling for oil, but that hasn’t lowered gas prices at the pump.  We need to do more.”  An infographic design should make this message very clear and easy to understand without having to read through the entire design.

What do you think?

Tuesday
Apr302013

White House will be Posting More Infographics

White House Infographics

The White House has just started posting on Tumblr, and released the White House on Tumblr infographic you see above to kickoff the blog.  I’m pleased to see infographics as a large section of the content they are planning, but also a little bit worried.

We see some great things here at the White House every day, and sharing that stuff with you is one of the best parts of our jobs. That’s why we’re launching a Tumblr. We’ll post things like the best quotes from President Obama, or video of young scientists visiting the White House for the science fair, or photos of adorable moments with Bo. We’ve got some wonky charts, too. Because to us, those are actually kind of exciting.

They’re not kidding about the “Wonky charts!”  I look at this design and think “Huh?”  The infographic appears to be a stylized form of a coxcomb chart or rose diagram, but not really.  It’s definitely an aesthetic design all about style without substance.  The design is just supposed to imply the different types (and maybe the amounts) of content they intend to publish.  There isn’t any real data or numbers behind the chart, and the hand-drawn aspect reinforces that this is just suggestive of what we should expect to see in the future.  

Visually, I guess it also suggests that the content might cover multiple categories.  So posts about the FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) might include photos, behind-the-scenes information and posts about Bo, the First Dog.

No real chart would have overlapping pie slices.  Slices of a true Rose Diagram (credited to Florence Nightingale) would have equal angles that add up to 360° or 100%, and with varying radii, the area of each slice would represent the value of each section.

The staff at the White House has posted infographics on the official White House blog before (which I critiqued here and here).  I love that this helps raise the awareness and credibility of infographics aas a whole!