Over the last 6 months I have been working on quite a big data collection project. I have been doing my best to find innovative and interesting ways to present all this information. I am still convinced that the role of an analyst is to get a message across as much as it is to collect data/videos.
I recently came across a couple of blogs I hadn’t seen before – both deal directly with Data Visualization and I wanted to share a really interesting example of what I found.
A Table of Results
Both blogs were dealing with the Manchester Derby from a few weeks back where City won 6-1. On an excellent blog soccerbythenumbers a table of the historical results were presented like so;
Nothing especially wrong with the table but nothing very exciting about it either. I would imagine most people take a quick glance at this and then move on.
Simple but effective improvements.
On the VizWiz blog they looked at making this table come a bit more alive and could use the same data to tell their story in a better way.
So how do you think they did? Here is what they did.
- Changed the numbers to percentages and rounded to one decimal.
- Removed most of the grid-lines.
- Formatted the results as a heat map. This makes the largest percentage of result very obvious. For example, you can now easily see, without having to scan across all of the data points, that 1-1 is the most common score line…boring result!
- Formatted the totals as a second heat map. I chose a brown-white scheme for these. The totals show you the % of the total goals scored for each time. ManU has scored one or two goals 64.2% of the time while City has scored one or two goals 58.2% of the time.
For me this paints a much clearer picture of exactly the same data. But that’s not where the improvement ends.
Visualization is King!
On the dataremixed blog I found an even better improvement. Using a bubble chart they managed to create the following interactive and visually appealing table – again using the exact same data set. (To see the table in all it’s glory click here)
This takes the visualization of the data to a whole new level. You now have colours representing the 2 teams and a draw and the size of the bubble shows how popular the scoreline is. I think any human being would prefer looking at the last table than the first. But more importantly that what my preference is – I am also much more likely to remember the important points.
I am constantly on the look out for new and exciting ways to present information. I think the example above highlights just how important that skill is.