Thursday, June 30, 2016

FiveThirtyEight's 2016 Election Forecast is a visualization delight

Perhaps this is not that surprising, but FiveThirtyEight's new Election Forecast is an interactive visualization delight that combines choropleth maps, time-series line charts, box plots, histograms, cartograms, and numerical tables. It's unusual that a single graphic can tell a complex story; this project is good proof of that.

Yesterday, Steve Wexler tweeted “Nothing short of amazed at the creativity and innovation I'm seeing in #dataviz. I think we're just entering a golden age.” I'm inclined to agree despite being a fan of gloomy manifestos. None of the graphic forms used in this project is really novel. They have existed for decades or even centuries, but some of them were used only in specialized publications. FiveThirtyEight is a news website, not a scientific journal. Isn't it encouraging to see that journalists at so many organizations are losing their fear of “confusing” readers with “complex” graphics like histograms? Or of using proper statistical terminology?