Sports…that’s a topic that always brings out lots of Makeover Monday vizzes. I’ll see if I can pick more sports data sets going forward since you all seem to enjoy it so much. From simple bars, to complex dot plots doing deep analysis, this week showed the variety and creativity that makes me really enjoy running this project. So many times this week I found myself saying “Why didn’t I think of that?” Really, really great work this week. As always, there are areas to improve upon. This week, two simple lessons.
LESSON 1: DON’T COMBINE LINE TYPES
During this week’s Viz Review, Eva and I gave some feedback about this viz from Tom Seiple.
There are a couple of issues that we pointed out:
- The axes aren’t synchronized. This makes it harder than necessary to compare the total salary to the salary cap and could easily lead to misinterpretation.
- Which line goes with which axis?
- Some of the lines are very hard to see against the dark background.
- Which team is which? What does the position of each chart mean?
- One line is a regular line and the other is a stepped line.
Focusing on issue 5, I find it confusing to combine line types. Doing so indicates that there is meaning to the different line types, but there isn’t in this case. If having different line types is important, go for it, but in this case it adds unnecessary confusion.
LESSON 2: DON’T USE PACKED BUBBLES TO REPRESENT CHANGE OVER TIME
The intent of this chart, at least according to the title, is to show the distribution of the salary cap. In other words, how has the salary cap changed over time? Using packed bubbles gives you no sense in the change over time. In addition, using a diverging color scheme implies one end is good and one end is bad. It’s just a salary cap that increases every season, that’s neither good nor bad.
Here are two methods for displaying this data to make it easier to understand. Notice how I also changed the metric to salary cap per team since the number of teams has changed over the years.