Friday, November 29, 2019

Old dogs, Tom Hanks, and analogies in visualization

Christopher Ingraham writes about a new study comparing the aging of humans and Labrador retrievers. I've been using the 7-year rule—each 7 human years equal to 1 dog year—for ages, although I'd heard of other formulas. One of my dogs is 3, and I always assumed that his goofy and playful behavior was due to being a late teenager in his twenties. It turns out that he may be something closer to a very active 50-year-old person!

The graph in the article is lovely not only because of its clarity, but because of the cute comparison between dogs and Tom Hanks. I wish we could see analogies like this more often in visualization. They were pretty common in news graphics decades ago, and I have the hunch that they aid understanding of otherwise abstract quantities.