The Art of Transforming Data into Great Stories

What happened last week in the world of data visualization? This category provides you with remarkable visualizations – they can be remarkably beautiful, remarkably interactive or just remarkably interesting. Visualizations differ on so many levels, and so does their content. Let’s take a look at what week #12 brought us.

AP Election Buzz

Naturally, the American news agency Associated Press (AP) has a high interest in the 2016 Presidential Election. In an age were all candidates are using social media like Twitter or Facebook for their campaigns, it is not a surprise that the media also takes a closer look at those digital channels to analyse the users’ interest in the elections.

The AP Election Buzz webpage is updated daily, has a simple design and – this is quite interesting – displays both google search inquiries and tweets in regards to the election. Basically, the sites enable the users to compare tweets and search inquiries with each other. The graphs and diagrams are neither spectacular nor followed by an eureka-effect. But they are clean, straightforward and hence very easy to understand for a large audience.
What really makes this page so interesting is the direct comparison of results from Google and Twitter in terms of overall interest curves. You can exactly see how interest sparked or fell during certain periods on both Google and Twitter. However this feature wasn’t implemented for the detailed-view. Which is understandable in terms of how to exactly interpret the different indicators (mentions vs. search queries), but it would have been a lot nicer. Now you have separate images with bar charts representing Google and Twitter – so no direct-direct comparison possible. For everyone who is curious, the interest in the 2016 election seems to have developed simultaneously on Google and Twitter, but there a platform-specific differences that can be discovered. In conclusion, next to the actual data the aspect of comparison is what makes that visual so fascinating – at least for a bunch of techies, nerds and us.

US Elections Twitter Google

How Trump could be blocked at a contested Republican convention

The second story is again driven by the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The race to the White House seems to be a gift for all data-enthusiasts. Before we start wondering off point, let’s shift the focus on something like a decision tree concerning the nomination of the official candidate of the Republican party. Sounds like a boring process diagram? Do not opt yet out but give it a chance.

The question behind the New York Times article is quite simple: Is there a way to avoid nomination of a (republican) candidate, such as Donald Trump, even though he won the primaries by majority (not by necessary numbers)? The answer is a little tricky, but has been explained textual by the author of the story in brief. However, it asks for a lot of focus from the reader going through some number games. So why not underpin the explanations by a visualization to make it more interesting? Instead of just one generic schematic, the author decided to split the graphs according to several stages of reasoning. Neither the small visualizations nor the usability is outstanding, but the way of integrating this small visualization into the text is very smart. From a data-driven perspective the US elections is accompanied by a diverse and creative outcome. And we hope that the current (election) drive keeps on going even after a new president has been welcomed in the White House.

How Trump Could Be Blocked at a Contested Republican Convention

The transformation of British diet

No elections, but the diet of another Anglo Saxon country are in focus of this story. The British diet might not have what you call an excellent reputation. Checking the underlying change of diet in the last half-century, that common generalization might be hard to hold.

Britain’s diet in data is based on data gathered throughout centuries by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The website on which the processed and visualized data is presented, is owned by the The Open Data Institute (ODI); and the award-winning data-visualization company called KILN was in charge of the visual realization of this project. The background of the website is a nice example of governmental data that has been made public, and treated seriously by an open data institution. The result is a very detailed overview of the Brits’ dietary habits and the transformation it has undergone. All visualizations are either line charts or bar charts, sometimes including a slider for representations over time. The handling is very easy and there are no distracting elements. Again, a pretty simple visualizations managed to tell a nice data-based story. Here is 100 points to – not joking – Britain’s Diet. They deserve it!

Britains Diet

About the author : Eva Lopez (DW)