China’s Straddling Bus

Apologies for the lack of posts the last two days. I visited Wisconsin to trace some of the courthouse records of the Spellacys. And while I will try to return to them later next week, today we go to China.

During my recent holidays, the media made much ado about a new straddling bus in China. Except that it’s not that new. And now it might not be real or at least really viable. I recalled this graphic from 2012 via the Guardian and decided it would be relevant to try and explain how the bus should work.

How the straddling bus works
How the straddling bus works

Credit for the piece goes to Graphic News.

Theresa May’s Cabinet

Who said British politics are boring? With David Cameron out and Theresa May in as Prime Minister, it is time to reshuffle the cabinet. And the Guardian is reusing the style they had for the Jeremy Corbyn shadow cabinet mass resignation. Except in this case, the colours reflect the Tory’s position on Brexit.

The cabinet as of this morning
The cabinet as of this morning

Credit for the piece goes to the Guardian graphics department.

Comparing the Brexit Results Designs: Part 3

Last one of these critiques—I promise. Earlier this week I looked at the New York Times’ coverage and the BBC’s coverage. Well, today I want to examine the Guardian’s coverage of the Brexit vote results. This piece differs the most from the preceding work and it starts right from the top, literally.

The faces of the campaigns
The faces of the campaigns

I am not the biggest fan of the illustrations of David Cameron and Boris Johnson, but in a sense, neither is a throw-in. For the last few months, the Guardian has been using these and similar illustrations of US presidential candidates to tie results into different political camps. Thus in that sense, they do fit the Guardian’s current brand. Interestingly, neither remains (pun intended) in the picture for the future of the Tories.

Data-wise, however, the decision to use the bar chart at the outset of the piece reflects an understanding of the importance of the top-line number. Districts count, but only at that granular level I discussed. What truly matter, though, is the aggregate. And this is a no-doubt-about-it means of conveying that information. (I will admit the David Cameron frowny face does help a wee bit.)

And if the use of big numbers and illustrations at the top of the piece broke with the choropleth map we saw with the New York Times and the BBC, well, we have another clear break.

Hexagonal representation
Hexagonal representation

Instead of using a geographic map, the Guardian employs a cartogram with hexagons. I have covered similar uses a several times before today. The hexagon shape allows better retention of familiar geographic shapes, while still providing a means of solving the small district problem, especially in places like central London.

From another design perspective, that of colour, we see an improvement over the blue–yellow spectrum used by the BBC. You may recall from yesterday:

Having multiple tints and shades of yellow makes the map difficult to read.

Here, the Guardian instead opted for a simplified, and easier to read, two-step split. Bright blue and yellow with each have a call it half-tint. With only two blues and, more importantly, two yellows to distinguish, the map becomes easier to read. The trade-off, the darker of the colours represents anything above a 15% majority.

Clicking on the map then provides with a small summary of the district results.

A look at Watford
A look at Watford

Here we see nothing too dissimilar from how the BBC treated the interaction with their map. A small, subtle design element I enjoy, however, is the inclusion of the national average. The 50% marker indicates clearly which side won, but the tick below the bar gives the reader context of where the district fell into relation to the remainder of the country.

And that leads us into the next set of comparisons.

Comparisons based on demographics
Comparisons based on demographics

The Guardian took local district results and compared them against several different demographic and socio-economic indicators. This allowed them to present various correlations of the vote. It turns out that higher education correlated best with the results of the UK vote. From a design perspective, the linked circles provides some stability. However, I would have preferred the ability to click a geography and have it remain sticky and bring up the specific figures. Additionally, some sort of text search for geographies would be helpful.

And then the Guardian’s piece closes as strongly as it opened.

Votes along the Tyne
Votes along the Tyne

The piece examines three riverside areas to provide specific analysis to the vote. The screenshot above focuses on the Tyne, which runs alongside the aptly named Newcastle upon Tyne. The Guardian uses the previous general election results for the area to contrast with the referendum results. It does similar analysis for the Thames (London) and the Mersey (Liverpool).

Similar to the New York Times piece, the Guardian’s piece responds well to viewing the content on a small screen. The changes are less complex and they deal mostly with the arrangement of the various components instead of the layout of contextual data. But the Guardian clearly considered how the piece would work on a mobile phone up through a widescreen monitor.

Overall the piece is quite strong and does an excellent job of showcasing the results data and providing insightful analysis that complements the vote totals.

Credit for the piece goes to the Guardian graphics department.

2016 Holyrood Elections

Last week Scotland voted for its parliament, Holyrood. The Scottish National Party did well enough, the Conservatives picked up quite a few seats, and Labour lost quite a few. The Guardian put together this piece looking at the results and the stories contained therein. But I want to focus on the graphics, the big piece of which was a map of Scotland with each constituency represented by a small Sankey diagram.

Scotland's results
Scotland’s results

You see that generally, Scotland is a sea of yellow, surging blue, and diminishing red. But what about the numbers for each constituency? The interactive nature of the chart lets you see the 2016 results mousing over the constituency.

Aberdeenshire West results
Aberdeenshire West results

Normally I would say that a piece like this is missing an easy way for someone to find their own constituency, however, this is not a results page, but an article on the results, so something like a search bar is not necessary.

What I really enjoy, however, is that when the story breaks down the results by regions, the map becomes an abstracted series of squares used to highlight the constituencies in focus. It is a really nice reuse of the concept and the overall graphic.

Talking about Glasgow
Talking about Glasgow

Credit for the piece goes to the Guardian’s graphics department.

MH370 Found?

Last night (Central Daylight time), news broke that what might be part of the wing of a Boeing 777, which is the same type of aircraft as the missing Malaysian Flight 370, washed up on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The Guardian was following the story last night and one of their reporters used a ocean currents simulator to see if wreckage from a crash off the coast of Perth (western Australia) could make it to Réunion.

Possible debris currents
Possible debris currents

Yep, it can.

Credit for the piece goes to adrift.org.au.

Greek Referendum Results

So when I initially planned to do this post for today, I thought the results would be a lot closer and the data display more interesting. But, I was wrong. It turns out the Greeks voted overwhelmingly against the European Union’s offer in a greater than 60–40 result. But, here we go anyways, a whole lot of no in this piece from the Guardian.

Turns out Greeks don't want austerity
Turns out Greeks don’t want austerity

Credit for the piece goes to the Guardian’s graphics team.

Maps of London

A little while back, the Guardian posted an article about an exhibit in London chronicling the history of the city through maps. This is from the time of two competing cities: London and Westminster through to the modern era when those two cities have merged (along with others) to become greater London.

Londinium
Londinium

Credit for the piece goes to the various cartographers over the centuries.

Ebola on a Plane

Definitely not really, but far more interesting than snakes. Today’s piece comes from the Guardian. Admittedly, the piece and thus the data is a month old, but it still is an interesting way of looking at the impact of the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Flight impacts in Sierra Leone
Flight impacts in Sierra Leone

The graphic begins with a map highlighting the spread of the outbreak and some of the immediate measures taken by different governments. By clicking on a button, however, the user can get more details on the specific impact of quarantines and border closures. In this case, I have clicked on Sierra Leone and can see that a good number of flights are either suspended or partially suspended.

Credit for the piece goes to Achilleas Galatsidas and Mark Anderson.

Cycling Deaths in Australia

Cycling can be quite dangerous. But apparently this summer was quite dangerous over in Australia. So much so that the Guardian did some data reporting on it back in June. Thankfully they included some charts in that reporting, the heat map below being one example.

Cyclist fatalities
Cyclist fatalities

None of the data visualisation in the piece is revolutionary or earth-shattering, but it is a solid piece with some solid charts backing up an interesting story.

Credit for the piece goes to Nick Evershed.