Long-term Unemployment

Two weeks ago Bloomberg published a really great example of annotating what some would find a complex infographic.

On occasion I hear concerns that charting two variables on a scatter plot is confusing. Further confusing people is to then plot the data over time, connected by a line. The approach is really no different than what I hear called “combo” charts. Those take two separate variables and plot them in the same space but use one axis to represent the two different variables—often without respect to scales and implicit meanings in the positioning of the two data series.

I find separating those two series onto separate axes and connecting them over time far clearer. And that’s just what the designers at Bloomberg did. But to allay any concerns about confusion—or so I assume—a series of annotations were made, guided by the buttons in the upper-right. These explain succinctly the view presented to the reader in the highlighted section of the overall graphic.

Normal patterns from 2001 to 2007 are highlighted here
Normal patterns from 2001 to 2007 are highlighted here

Overall a strong piece of data visualisation and analysis tied into effort.

Credit for the piece goes to Peter Coy, Evan Applegate, and Jennifer Daniel.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

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