Data visualization

A life of war (MakeoverMonday Week 6)

This week’s MakeoverMonday is a good one. Without further ado, the original visualization by Philip Bump, appearing in his Washington Post article entitled Nearly a quarter of Americans have never experienced the U.S. in a time of peace: This graph triggered my pedagogical Pavlovian dog. Not just because it’s easy to malign the poor pie chart (of which this graph has 115!), but because I had a hunch that a redesign would reveal features of the data that are obscured above.

MakeoverMonday: Pesticide usage in US

It’s been a while since I’ve posted! For a while I’ve been interested in joining the MakeoverMonday community, a group of data visualizers who come together each week to critique and redesign a visualization provided by Eva Murray and Andy Kriebel. I haven’t, due to busyness mostly, but this semester I finally took the dive and signed up! Call it a 2020 resolution. I hope that this will become a regular opportunity for me to keep developing my visualization critique and design skills.

Data Visualization: Principles and Applications in R, Tableau, and Python

Pre-conference workshop at SDSS 2019. Bellevue, WA. Co-author: Todd Iverson

A core data science curriculum for undergraduates

Pre-conference workshop at USCOTS 2019. Penn State, PA. Co-authors: Brant Deppa; Tisha Hooks; Todd Iverson; April Kerby; Chris Malone

Data vizzing in Japan

This July, my colleage Todd Iverson and I had the incredible opportunity to lead a pre-conference workshop at ICOTS 10 in Kyoto, Japan. Our workshop was titled Data visualization: best practices and principles using Tableau Public and Python. Our workshop began by covering Leland Wilkinson’s grammar of graphics. Most data visualization software (Tableau, Python, R, JMP) employ some version of this grammar, and with a firm understanding it becomes easy to transition between them.

Data visualization: Principles and Practice with Tableau Public and Python

Pre-conference workshop at ICOTS 10. Kyoto, Japan. Co-author: Todd Iverson

Web scraping and data visualization with Python and Tableau

Pre-conference workshop at USCOTS 2017. Penn State, PA. Co-author: Todd Iverson

Public data sources with social justice applications

Links and examples

On elementary perceptual tasks

One of the first concepts I talk about in my data visualization course is the idea of the elementary perceptual task (EPT), an idea explored in depth by visualization pioneers William S. Cleveland and Robert McGill. Essentially, EPTs are visual building blocks for comparing quantities. The EPTs are summarized nicely in Figure 1 from Graphical Perception: Theory, Experiementation, and Application to the Development of Graphical Methods:

For example, looking at the two dots in the upper-left pane, we perceive that the top dot represents a larger quantity than the bottom dot, because it is higher on a common scale than the bottom dot.

Gestalt principles and income inequality

The fall semester is over and final grades are in, which means it’s time to reflect on what just took place and how to grow from here. Today, I reflect on my third time teaching the data visualization course. This course has come a long way since the first time I taught it in Fall 2015, and yet there are still so many improvements to make! One of the concepts I want to greater emphasize next time I teach the course are the Gestalt principles, which Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka summarizes as the idea that “The whole is other than the sum of the parts.