For those of you reading from the States, I hope you all enjoyed your holiday. And for my UK readers, I hope you all enjoyed your summer bank holiday last weekend. So now to the good and uplifting kind of news.
Indeed, a chart about deaths from firearms from the Economist. From a graphical standpoint, we all know how much I loathe stacked bar charts and this shows why. It is difficult for the user to isolate and compare the profiles of certain types of firearm violence against each other. Clearly there are countries where suicide by gun is more prevalent than murder, but most on this list are more murder happy.
And then the line chart that is cleverly spaced within the overall graphic, well, it falls apart. There are too many lines highlighted. Instead, I would have separated these out into a separate chart, made larger, so that the reader can more easily discern which series belongs to which country. Or I would have gone with a set of small multiples isolating those nine countries.
I am also unclear on why certain countries were highlighted in the line chart. Did they all need to be highlighted? Why, for example, is Trinidad & Tobago. It is not mentioned in the article, nor is it in the stacked bar chart.
But the biggest problem I have is with the data itself. But, every one of the countries on that list is among the developing countries or the least developed countries. Except one. And that, of course, is the United States.
Credit for the piece goes to the Economist Data Team.
A few months ago I covered an editorial piece from the New York Times that looked at all the action, by which I mean inaction, the federal government had taken on gun violence in the wake of some horrific shootings. Well on Saturday the Washington Post published an article looking at how there has been action on the state level.
It used a series of small multiple maps of the United States with states represented as tiles or boxes. States are coloured by whether they took action in one of six different categories. It is a pretty simple and straightforward design that works well.
The only thing I am unsure about is whether the colours are necessary. A single colour could be used effectively given that each map has a clear title directly above it. Now, if the dataset were to be used in another chart or graphic alongside the maps where the types of action were combined, then colours could be justified. For example, if there was a way to see what actions a state had taken, i.e. pivot the data display, the different colours could show what from the set the state had done.
And in Pennsylvania’s case, sadly, that is nothing.
Back in March I posted about a great graphic from the New York Times editorial board they made in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. Saturday morning, the day after Friday’s Santa Fe, Texas school shooting, I was reading the paper and found the updated graphic.
Yeah, almost nothing has changed. Congress passed and the president signed an omnibus spending bill that included language to improve reporting on background checks.
Now from a design standpoint, what’s nice about this graphic is its restrained use of colour. The whole piece works in black and white. Of course it helps that there is nothing to show that needs to be highlighted in the data.
Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.
For many years I would often tell people that sometimes a visualisation can be “boring”, because the data itself is boring—a lack of growth in a market, no real mergers, or even steady and consistent but unspectacular growth. Those can all be stories, even if they likely result in very monotone choropleths or straight line charts or perfect steps of bar charts.
And then there are times when the lack of growth or change, when visualised, can be very powerful. I wanted to share this piece from the New York Times with everyone because it does just that.
You really need to click through and see the scale and scope, because the designers behind this did a fantastic job of capturing that sense of lack of change in a very large and expansive piece.
Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times Editorial Board.
Today’s post was going to be something not this. But it is remarkable how many people die in the United States in mass shootings. It is, generally speaking, not a problem experienced in the rest of the developed world. The question is do we want gun violence to really define American exceptionalism?
Anyways, the Washington Post has a frightening piece exploring all the deaths, the guns, the killers, and the frequency of the killings.
Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz, Denise Lu, and Chris Alcantara.
Well, the data speaks for itself. I wanted to use this screenshot, however, to show you the story because I think it does a fantastic job. Without having to read the article, the image encapsulates what is to come in the article.
That said, there are a few other scatter plots worth checking out if the topic is of interest. And the explanation of the data makes all the more sense.
But I really loved the impact of that homepage.
Credit for the piece goes to Max Fisher and Josh Keller.
When I lived in Chicago, people back East would always ask if I was worried about murder and gun crime in Chicago. My reply was always, “no, not really”. Why? Because I lived in generally safe neighbourhoods. But on that topic, the second most numerous question/comment was always, why are the strict gun laws in Chicago not preventing these crimes? More often than not the question had more to do with saying gun control laws were ineffective.
But in Chicago, it seemed to me to be fairly common knowledge that most of the guns people used to commit crimes were, in fact, not purchased in Illinois. Rather, criminals imported them from neighbouring states that had far looser regulations on firearms.
They bring back more than just cheese from Wisconsin…I am not the biggest fan of the maps that they use, although I understand why. Most Americans would probably not be able to name the states bordering Illinois, California, or Maryland—the two other states examined this way—and this helps ground the readers in that geographically important context. But, thankfully the designers opted for another further down in the article that explores the data set in a more nuanced approach. Surprise, surprise, it’s not that simple of an issue.
Well news definitely happened whilst your author was on holiday. So today we look at an informative piece from the New York Times that compares the weapons fire from the Las Vegas shooting to that of Orlando and a fully automatic weapon.
This piece makes good use of both audio and motion graphics to show how the bump stock makes a semi-automatic rifle more like what we might call a machine gun. It also includes some nice illustrations that demonstrate how the stock does what it does.
From an audio standpoint, I do want to point out that the designers made a wise decision in opting not to use authentic sounds. Instead they chose an abstracted sound, allowing the user to focus on the rapidity and steadiness of the sound.
Credit for the piece goes to Larry Buchanan, Evan Grothjan, Jon Huang, Yuliya Parshina-Kottas, Adam Pearce, Karen Yourish, C.J. Chivers, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.
I loved the title of this piece from the Washington Post that I had to borrow it myself. Of course all credit goes to that particular copywriter. The Washington Post looked at counties and states where gun stores outnumbered museums and libraries. Thankfully my home county has more knowledge than guns. Sadly, the same cannot be said for large areas of the country.
And of note, while Pennsylvania is narrowly more gun than knowledge, the city of Philadelphia ranks second in terms of ratio of libraries/museums to gun stores at 16.93. Only New York City ranked higher.
Credit for the piece goes to Christopher Ingraham.