Today’s piece comes from the Wall Street Journal. It looks at US retail and foodservice spending through different types of stores.
I take issue with a few things, firstly the tree map. Because it’s not really a tree map. Another thing I am not keen on is the comparison feature in the piece. The user can select up to three types of stores to compare. And while the result works in the line chart—three lines—the bar chart devolves into a near useless component. There is no easy way to compare the actual lengths of the individual bars short of mousing over and scribbling down each individual datapoint. In the particular case here, I likely would have changed from bars to line. Because that way I can compare the actual magnitude of each store type.
I often rail against the use of maps. I often hear “They’re pretty!” or “They’re colourful!” or “But I really do know where Guatemala is!” or “I can see my house!”. They’re often just a crutch, unless you can use them to show an actual geographic distribution. Thankfully from Quartz we get a series of small multiple maps that look at the geographic distribution of top trading partners for a select set of geographies.
For this set, I think the colours could be the same and perhaps the chosen country perhaps outlined or otherwise signalled on the map. (Only because my utter lack of faith in people being able to identify countries on a map.) Still, it’s a good piece overall that makes nice use of maps.
As I noted in my Friday post, I spent last week in Lithuania for work. That same Friday night, I had a conversation with a few coworkers over dinner and a beer about credit cards. They teased me that for all of America’s technological advances and advantages, even in Lithuania they were using more secure forms of bank card payment: chipped cards. And that story seems a perfect segue into today’s post from the Washington Post.
Through a combination of charts, maps, and illustrations—a cropping of which is shown below—the Post details the advantages of using microchipped cards in preventing certain types of fraud. Additionally, because of the integration of the visuals with the written explanations, text can be used to provide longer anecdotes to explain exceptions and outliers when and where necessary.