When I chose this week’s topic, Women Constructors in the Shortz Era, I wasn’t sure how interesting it would be for people. You all sure surprised me! Great work! I learned a lot.
LESSON 1: CHECK THY DATA
We publish a link to the original post for a reason. READ IT. You won’t make the mistake that is CLEARLY outlined in the original viz: 1993 and 2018 are partial years so they are not included. Including them makes comparisons to other years inaccurate. Pay attention to the data. It takes two minutes to read the article and another two minutes to validate the data.
LESSON 2: SIZING HEATMAPS
Subtle changes to the size and borders on heatmaps can make for a much better visual appearance. We saw lots of heatmaps during Viz Review that had very wide rectangles likes this:
I find the patterns much harder to see when they cells are so wide. I recommend to people that you make them either square or barely wider than square, like this:
From there, consider adding a light border to make the cells pop.
Lastly, notice how I use a continuous color palette, not a diverging one. Since all of the numbers are positive, using a continuous pattern helps make the patterns more visible. Use a diverging palette when the numbers are either (1) both negative and positive or (2) have a natural midpoint that signifies the point where something switches from one state to another, i.e., good vs. bad.
Now here are this week’s favorites.