Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Playfair Charts: Scotland ExIm Barchart

Soon after finishing the second Playfair chart, the one on Wheat Price and Wages, I searched the internet for additional charts made by him. I found a Bar chart circa 1786, which showed the Scottish export and import volumes with other countries. For me, the real thrill was to scroll by the list of the name of places long consigned to history books - Jersey Is, Greenland, Prussia, Denmark and Norway (together) and Flanders. 

First, the original Playfair Barchart from Wikipedia, 

Then, my version of it in Excel. 

Couple of parting words: 

  • Excel 2007 no longer support dots and lines as fillers for charts. Hence, the ribbed import chart is given a different color, Gold. 
  • Normally, I'd use data point labels to construct the chart legends and other declarations given at the bottom of the chart. However, given Excel 2007' inability to automatically re-size labels to fit texts, I was forced to use text-boxes instead. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Playfair Charts: Wheat Price and Wages

After successfully recreating the Playfair trade-balance time-series chart, I took up the second chart shown in Jorge's post which is fancifully titled, "Chart showing at one view the price of the quarter of wheat and Wages of Labour by the week from The year 1565 to 1821."

I left out the top arches. Comparatively, this was the easier chart. Staying true to Jorge' rules, I didn't use any shape or clipart objects in this chart. The big oval shaped object in the middle of the chart, which contains the title is actually a marker for a data point.

The original Playfair Wheat price and Wages chart from Wikipedia,

and underneath, is my version in Excel.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Playfair Charts: Trade-balance Time-series

In one of his blog, Jorge Camoes talks about recreating the iconic "Playfair" charts. William Playfair (read more about him here), universally heralded as the "founder of graphical method of statistics" is credited with inventing four types of diagrams. The Line graph and Bar chart in 1786, and the Pie chart and the Circle graph in 1801.

In his post Excel charts meet William Playfair, Jorge includes pictures of the original Playfair England export and the prices of wheat and weekly wages charts alongside his recreated versions. He also lays down some rules for this challenge. "A single chart (no overlapping charts), no shapes/clipart to display data and, obviously, no Photoshop."

The original Playfair trade-balance time-series chart from Wikipedia,

and in below, my recreated version in Excel.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Rugby World Cup Dashboard: Charts Re-done

After creating my version of the Rugby World Cup Dashboard, it is time to redo their existing charts. My gripes were regarding the Treemap, the Stacked Bar and the Line charts, and here, I will attempt to offer easier, cleaner and more legible alternatives.

My alternative to the Treemap Chart,

The Stacked Bar chart, 

and, the Line chart.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Rugby World Cup Dashboard

The Rugby World Cup Dashboard will live in my memory long for various reasons. Ever since I first received a mention of it in the pages of Bime Analytics, it haunted me with its collection of charts singularly inappropriate for their purpose. And what a collection of varied charts!! No two alike, it features a Treemap, an exploded Pie-chart, a Column chart, a Bar chart and a Line chart.

Left to me, I'd have changed the color of the theme, reduced the number of charts and designed the dashboard this way.

The dashboard now includes more information, and all at the click of a button.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Wacky and Colorful

I often receive interesting ideas and suggestions from friends which forms the basis of some weird visualization. While personally I prefer to keep my charts simple, effective and legible, I go creative listening to ideas from others.

A friend of mine recently changed jobs. Before making his first presentation, he wrote to me about designing a chart which would WOW all his audience and help him to make a dramatic impact.

The data was about units of products sold in each region and compared with similar data of competitors. Needless to mention, a simple column chart would have served his purpose well. But not to my friend. On his insistence, I drew up a dummy table, and served him the following.

They look like abstract paintings. Right? Utterly amazed and curious, I thought of using this template on the Eurozone Debt data and came up with an even more wackier and colorful one.

In both cases, the width of the lines are indicative of their values. I've avoided using labels in the second chart thinking they would add more clutter.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Miming A Chart

Unbeknownst to many, the BBC News business page is home to some interesting data-sets and wonderful infographs. So, when I came across the piece titled, "Eurozone debt web: Who owes what to whom?" which revealed, with the help of an interactive chart, what the countries owed each other, I knew I had to dabble with the data.

Replicating that specific chart is close to impossible in Excel. But then, it got me thinking. do we really need a chart to visualize this data? Recognizing the boost conditional formatting received in Office 2007 and 2010 versions, I decided to use its power to mime a chart, rather than creating one.

I gathered the needed data from the information displayed in the chart itself to draft the table for the amounts the countries owed each other. And very shortly, within ten minutes, had my "mimed" chart ready.