pictures make you smarter

Pictures make you smarter Now hold still we want to get all the - PDF document

data visualization 4 Pictures make you smarter Now hold still we want to get all the variables together in one shot. You need more than a table of numbers. Your data is brilliantly complex, with more variables than you can shake a stick at.

  1. data visualization 4 Pictures make you smarter Now hold still… we want to get all the variables together in one shot. You need more than a table of numbers. Your data is brilliantly complex, with more variables than you can shake a stick at. Mulling over mounds and mounds of spreadsheets isn’t just boring; it can actually be a waste of your time. A clear, highly multivariate visualization can in a small space show you the forest that you’d miss for the trees if you were just looking at spreadsheets all the time. this is a new chapter 111

  2. you’re in the army now New Army needs to optimize their website Home Page #2 New Army is an online clothing retailer that just ran an experiment to test web layouts. For one month, everyone who came to the website On the CUTTING edge of fashion! was randomly served one of these three home New Army page designs . New Army Here’s what the Buy these shirts now! Men’s client wants Women’s Here’s Home Children’s Pets Page #1 New Army T h i s i s t h e i r c o n t r o l , b e c a u s e i t ’ s t h e s t y l e s h e e t t h e y ’ v e Men’s Women’s Children’s Pets b e e n u s i n g u p t o n o w . # 3 H o m e P a g e They had their experiment designers put together a series of tests that promise to answer a lot of their questions about their website design. What they want to do is find the best stylesheets to maximize sales and get people returning to their website. 112 Chapter 4

  3. data visualization The results are in, but the information designer is out Now that they have a store of fantastic data from We got a lot of crap back from the a controlled, randomized experiment, they need information designer we hired. It didn’t help a way to visualize it all together. us understand our data at all, so he got the So they hired a fancy information designer ax. Can you create data visualizations for us and asked him to pull together something that that help us build a better website? helped them understand the implications of their research. Unfortunately, all did not work out as planned. What we want to see is which stylesheet or stylesheets maximize revenue, the time our visitors spend on the site, and return visits to the site. Web guru from New Army You’ll need to redesign the visualizations for the analysis. It could be hard work, because the experiment designers at New Army are an exacting bunch and generated a lot of solid data . But before we start, let’s take a look at the rejected designs. We’ll likely learn something Let’s take a look at the by knowing what sort of visualizations won’t work. rejected designs… you are here 4 113

  4. dubious designs The last information designer submitted these three infographics Keyword clicks… what The information designer submitted these does that mean? three designs to New Army. Take a look at these designs. What are your impressions? Can you see why the client might not have been pleased? New Army favorite keyword clicks The size of the text must have something to do with the number of clicks. Y o u c a n m a k e t a g c l o u d s l i k e t h i s f o r f r e e a t h t t p : / / w w w . w o r d l e . n e t . Looks like this 40 T otal page hits by stylesheet chart measures how many visits each home page got. It seems that they’re all about the same. 0 Home Page #1 Home Page #3 Home Page #2 114 Chapter 4

  5. data visualization Typical paths through the New Army website What do those arrows mean? OK, lots of arrows Men’s on this one. Women’s Home Pet’s About T h e s e v i s u a l i z a t i o n s a r e d e f i n i t e l y f l a s h y , b u t w h a t ’ s b e h i n d t h e m ? What data is behind the visualizations? “What is the data behind the visualizations?” is the very first question you should ask when looking at a new visualization. You care about the quality of the data and its interpretation, and you’d hate for a flashy design to get in the way of your own judgments about the analysis. What d’ya got back there? d a t a d a a t a t a d d a a t t a a d d a a t a t a d d a a t a t a Fancy visualization d d a a t a t a d d a a t a t a d d a a t a t a d d a t a i t ’ s a l l a b o u t . T h e d a t a i s w h a t What sort of data do you think is behind these visualizations? you are here 4 115

  6. let’s see that data Show the data! New Army favorite keyword clicks You can’t tell from these visualizations Typical paths through the New Army website what data is behind them. If you’re the 40 client, how could you ever expect to be T otal page hits by stylesheet Men’s able to make useful judgments with the visualizations if they don’t even say clearly what data they describe? Women’s Home Show the data. Your first job in creating Pet’s good data visualizations is to facilitate rigorous thinking and good decision About making on the part of your clients, and 0 good data analysis begins and ends with Home Page #1 Home Page #3 Home Page #2 thinking with data . These graphics can fit a lot of different data. You just don’t know what’s behind them until the designer tells you. t i o n s A n d t h e s e g r a p h s a r e n o t s o l u y . t o t h e p r o b l e m s o f N e w A r m Here are some of New Army’s data sheets. New Army’s actual data, however, is really rich and has all sorts of great material for your visualizations. This is what it’s all about. 116 Chapter 4

  7. data visualization Here’s some unsolicited advice from the last designer You didn’t ask for it, but it appears that you’re getting it anyway: the outgoing Head First To: information designer wants to put in From: Dan’s Dizzying Data Designs his two cents about the project. Maybe Website design optimization project Re: his perspective help… Dear Head First, I want to wish you the best of luck on the New Army project. I didn’t really want to do it anyway, Well that’s “nice” so it’s good for someone else to get a chance to of him to say. give it a shot. One word of warning: they have a lot of data. Too much, in fact. Once you really dig into it, you’ll know what I mean. I say, give me a nice little tabular layout, and I’ll make you a pretty t h e t a b l e F r o m t h e l o o k s o f chart with it. But these guys? They have more , i t a p p e a r s o n t h e f a c i n g p a g e data than they know what to do with. c t . t h a t D a n i s c o r r e And they will expect you to make visuals of all of it for them. I just made a few nice charts, which I understand not everyone liked, but I’ll tell you they’ve set forward an insurmountable task. They want to see it all, but there is just too oo much data to T visualize it all, huh? much. Dan Dan seems to think that an excess of data is a real problem for someone trying to design good data visualizations. Do you think that what he is saying is plausible? Why or why not? you are here 4 117

  8. the more data the better Is Dan being reasonable when he says it’s too hard to do good visualizations when there is too much data? This isn’t very plausible. The whole point of data analysis is to summarize data, and summarizing tools, like taking the average of a number, will work regardless of whether you have just a few data points or millions. And if you have a bunch of different data sets to compare to each other, really great. visualizations facilitate this sort of data analysis just like all the other tools. Too much data is never your problem It’s easy to get scared by looking at a lot of data. So… much… data!!! But knowing how to deal with what seems like a lot of data is easy, too. Some of this stuff is going to be useful to you. If you’ve got a lot of data and aren’t sure what to do with it, just remember your analytical And some of it won’t objectives. With these in mind, stay focused on be useful to you. the data that speaks to your objectives and ignore the rest. 118 Chapter 4

  9. data visualization Duh. The problem is not too much data; the problem is figuring out how to make the data visually appealing. Oh, really? Do you think it’s your job as a data analyst to create an aesthetic experience for your clients? Making the data pretty isn’t your problem either If the data visualization solves a client’s problem, it’s always attractive, whether it’s something really elaborate and visually Excitement stimulating or whether it’s just a plain ol’ Insight table of numbers. Pizazz Charm Making good data visualizations is just like Splash Beauty making any sort of good data analysis. You Wow! factor just need to know where to start. Eye-appeal Pop What do you think the So how do you use a big pile of data with a client’s looking for? bunch of different variables to evaluate your objectives? Where exactly do you begin? you are here 4 119


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