Interpreta hasta 6 variables con Tableau

Todo analista de datos debe elaborar informes de resultados que permitan comprender la situación con el mínimo esfuerzo. Para ello, dispone de un amplio abanico de recursos que debe combinar para contextualizar la información sin sobrecargar excesivamente el documento. Evitando el riesgo de infoxicación y/o parálisis por análisis.

A grandes rasgos, el analista combina:

– Variables de segmentación (tiempo, productos, regiones,…)
– Elementos de referencia (competencia, cliente, entorno, …)
– Recursos gráficos (formas, colores, …)

Recursos que pueden combinarse de infinitas formas. Por dicho motivo, el analista de datos debe estar cuestionándose constantemente si ya tiene suficiente con las fuentes de información, técnicas y herramientas que conoce ó si existe algún nuevo método que permita comprender mejor la situación y, en consecuencia, afinar en la toma de decisiones.

A modo de ejemplo, comparto una presentación gráfica, hecha con Tableau Public, que permite comparar 3 indicadores respecto a 3 variables de segmentación (volumen de ventas, margen promedio, promedio de incidencias vs región, producto y tiempo).

3 indicadores vs. 3 variables de segmentación con Tableau Public

– Las líneas representan la evolución de ventas semanales a lo largo del tiempo
– La anchura de la línea corresponde al porcentaje medio de margen.
– El color de la línea está relacionado con el porcentaje de incidencias (más rojo cuanto mayor es el número de incidencias).

Y ahora… ¿Cómo podemos seguir?

Análisis gráfico de información. Selección de herramientas 2013

Comparto mi selección de herramientas de representación gráfica de información. Todas ellas ofrecen una licencia gratuita.

Let’s paint the data !!

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

Favorites of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard not to. Iflast year (and maybe the year before) was the year of the gigantic graphic, this was the year of big data. Or maybe we’ve gotten better at filtering to the good stuff. (Fancy that.) In any case, data graphics continue to thrive and designers are putting more thought into what the data are about, and that’s a very good thing.

So here are my favorites from 2011, ordered by preference. The order could easily scramble depending when you ask me.

1. Data-Driven Documents

While creator Mike Bostock made the initial commit to GitHub in late 2010, D3 hit its stride in 2011. With Flash becoming less prevalent and HTML5 becoming more so, the lightweight JavaScript library is becoming many developers’ choice when it comes to visualization on the Web. (I played around some, too.) This library is only going to get better come 2012.

2. Immaterials: Light Painting WiFi

Who knew carrying around a stick that detects WiFi vertically could be so informative? Mix in long-exposure photography, and the invisible networks all around look tangible. I feel silly putting this project so high on the list because it is so simple, but its simplicity is also part of why I like it so much.

3. A More Perfect Union

Media artist Roger Luke DuBois used online dating data to show the uniqueness of cities in America. In place of city names are the words that people in those cities used more often in their online dating profiles than anywhere else. The result was an exhibit mostly on paper, showing what set cities apart. It’s not often that we get to see how geographic regions are unique at such a personal level.

4. Planetary

From Bloom, Planetary is an iPad app that visualizes your iTunes music as a solar system, bringing your data into a more playful and exploratory context. The solar system is your music collection, stars are artists, and planets are songs. Planetary was a hit at launch, and it’s only a small sample of things to come I am sure.

5. Better Life Index

The OECD has a lot of data about countries, and it can be hard to make all of data accessible at once. Moritz Stefaner and Raureif, in collaboration with the OECD, did this with the Better Life Index. You’re even able to pick metrics to build an index yourself.

6. Whose Size 8 Are You Wearing?

This one from The New York Times amused me. My wife always has to try on so many jeans and once she finds a brand, she tends to stick with it for years. Now I get it. Sizes on women’s clothing makes no sense.

7. Radiation Dose Chart

With the troubles in Japan caused by mother nature, possible radiation hazards were in the news. Most accounts were anecdotal though, and a lot of numbers were thrown around. Randall Munroe of xkcd put together this chart to put it into perspective. What Munroe lacks in design tech he makes up with rigor.

8. The Deadliest Years

Similarly, after the tornado in Joplin, Missouri killed more than 100 people, The New York Times put things into perspective. An animated and interactive map showed tornados and where they touched down, starting in 1950.

9. See Something or Say Something

The way that people use web services has gotten a lot more interesting with the growth of mobile tech. People aren’t just interacting via a standing desktop anymore. Eric Fischer compared Flickr and Twitter usage in this series of maps. White indicates where people used both, blue is just Twitter, and orange is Flickr.

10. Visualizing Friendships

Facebook intern Paul Butler’s map came out in 2010 just after I made my top picks for that year. The map shows the reach of Facebook, and more interestingly, I think, where Facebook isn’t used. A number of follow-up maps came out of it. I also wrote a tutorial on how to do the same with your data.

11. Global Fire Observations

NASA mapped tens of millions of fires worldwide over the course of a decade. Fires come, and forestry goes, and then comes back again. I was surprised the animation wasn’t more popular when it came out. Probably would’ve spread a lot more with a little more production.


12. All Roads Lead to Philosophy

There was an idea floating around that if you continuously follow the first link on Wikipedia pages, you will always end up at philosophy. Jeffrey Winter put together a mashup to try out the idea, and whattaya know, everything does lead to philosophy. Well, almost everything.

13. Address is Approximate

While the short film about a lonely desk toy traveling cross-country via Google Streetview isn’t exactly a data visualization, it deserves a shout. I mean, it uses maps, so that’s enough. Just watch it.

[vimeo w=624&h=351]

14. History of the World

Gareth Lloyd showed the history of the world in 100 seconds, using geotagged entries on Wikipedia. Because of that, the data has a slant towards Europe and the US, but it’s interesting to watch nevertheless.

15. Project Cascade

Sharing on the Web is often depicted as time series charts and bar graphs, and measured by number of retweets and likes. There’s more to it than that. The spread of a story is organic, a lot like how things spread in the physical world. Mark Hansen, Jer Thorp, and Jake Porway, as parts of the New York Times R&D Lab created Project Cascade to visualize how people share New York Times Stories.

Those are my picks for 2011. Your turn.

Matthias Shapiro | Effective Information Visualization

We are swimming in data. Too much to comprehend, at times. Matthias Shapiro walks us through the visualization techniques that can be used to figure out what a data set is trying to tell us. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Filming by Davis Audio Visual in Salt Lake City, Utah.


10 Things You Can Learn From the New York Times? Data Visualizations…

The Malofiej 20 awards, known as the Pulitzers of the infographics world, recognize the finest infographics published across the globe. This year, more than 1,500 print and online submissions competed for the prestigious awards.

National Geographic Magazine, which won best print map and two gold awards, and Internet Group do Brasil iG (gold) were notable achievements. However, as in previous years, the portfolio of graphics from the New York Times dominated the event, winning six gold medals (four print, two online), the best online map and both the ‘Best in Show’ awards for print and online submissions.

So what are the secrets to the New York Times’ continued success? Here are 10 key characteristics that, when brought together in a synthesised design process, helps to separate their work from the rest.

1. Clarity of context and purpose

Establishing the goal of a visualization or infographic is the first consideration in its development, before any creative process has commenced. Is it to enable interaction and personal discovery of data? Is it to convey a story or enhance a specific editorial perspective? Will it be a static, an interactive or even a video? All these key design decisions will be based on the clarity of concept at this initial stage of the process and this is one area in which the New York Times excels.


2. Respect for the reader

The overriding aim of a visualization or infographic should be to make a subject accessible. It is more about delivering clarity than it is about achieving simplicity. You are not looking to dilute a subject’s complexity, just make it more digestible through elegant representation. The immediacy of interpretation is not necessarily an important factor with all visual designs, as some subjects do require a little while to understand. That’s not a problem, so long as the effort put in by the reader is rewarded with the insight derived as a result. The New York Times trusts its readers to have the patience, maturity and the motivation to treasure the task of reading and learning from a graphic and this, in turn, enhances the quality of their design decisions.


3. Editorial rigor and integration

The New York Times graphics editors are seamlessly integrated into the editorial rhythm of the paper’s journalism cycle. Rather than graphics being viewed as an after-thought or novelty visual accompaniment to a written piece, many are elevated to become the central artefact of a story.

4. Clarity of questions

The strong journalistic culture of the graphics designers leads to exceptional clarity about the questions each visual piece is answering and the stories they are trying to portray. The consequence is that the choice of visual representation, whether it is an illustration, a set of visualization elements or a photographic composition, is effectively deployed and perfectly aligned to the questions they are answering.


5. Data research and preparation

One of the most important messages that came across from the New York Times speakers at Malofiej was the amount of preparation and research that goes into the construction of their graphics. Whether it is the long-term development of programming libraries that will ultimately serve as the basis of successive mapping projects, or their proximity and relationship with other departments to obtain access to rich and deep data resources, the rigor of their work is clear for all to see.

6. Visual restraint

Common to all New York Times’ pieces is the consistent and identifiable visual identity that has been carefully crafted over a number of years and which leads to real visual elegance. The deployment of color in particular is immediately recognizable. It is done so sparingly, used in such subtle doses just to highlight, distinguish or encode data without any sense of over decoration. While some may contest that their work is too sober, this is more a reflection of them not needing to overtly attract readers’ attention in the same way many other organizations or subjects do.


7. Layout and placement

Trying to secure prime ‘real estate’ page space across a newspaper like the New York Times would seem as difficult a challenge as it is to secure land on Manhattan itself. However, there is a constant boldness and ambition about the positions and dimensions in which graphics appear in the print edition. Whether it is full columns, double page spreads or dramatic diagonals, the Times ensures each graphic has the perfect stage to amplify the impact of the visual’s relationship with an article.

8. Diversity of techniques

While there is evidence of a successful and consistent formula being applied to the preparation, editorial approach and visual identity behind each New York Times graphic, the variety of techniques within their portfolio shows immense flexibility and versatility. Very rarely do you see the same representation repeated. Each piece is carefully constructed and deliberately designed to specifically answer the key questions or convey the important stories they are wishing to surface.


9. Technical Execution

Whether it is a 3D illustration, a bubble chart or an interactive map, the New York Times graphics team always demonstrates an outstanding technical capability.

10. Annotation

Amanda Cox, the New York Times graphics editor, considers the annotation layer of their graphics to be “the most important thing we do.” Through the careful use of labels, introductions, explanatory text and captions, the New York Times’ designers take the responsibility to assist a reader in understanding the context of a graphic and interpretation of its key messages.

You can see many examples of the New York Times’ graphic output through the years on the following sites:


Andy Kirk is a data visualisation consultant, designer and trainer and was a judge and speaker at Malofiej 20. Andy is currently delivering one-day ‘Introduction to Data Visualisation training courses around Europe and North America, providing delegates with an inspirational and educational route into this ever-popular subject.

Win a place on a Data Visualization training course!

Want to learn more about the secrets of effective data visualisation design? As a special offer to readers, Andy has offered one lucky person the chance to secure a free place on one of his forthcoming training events. You can view his current schedule here. To enter, simply submit a comment in the space below with your preferred location and a brief reason why you think this would be so beneficial for you. The contest will close on Monday, April 9th at 17:00 GMT, a random selection will take place and then the winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 10th.