Graphics Tips

Graphics Basics

  1. What is the story you want to tell?
  2. Is the figure misleading?
  3. Could other figure types be more effective?
  4. Does the figure show variation?
  5. Is the figure self-contained?

Misleading Graphs

Data visualization is hard and it is easy to mislead, intentionally or unintentionally.

Better Approach

Axis Labels

  • Axis labels are often placed on the x-axis, but for long labels this can be less effective.

Axis Labels 2

  • Often, the labels are rotated. Works, but is ugly and difficult to read in my opinion.

Axis Labels 3

  • The solution, flip x and y axis using coord_flip()!

Showing Variation

  • Figures depicting statistics, should show variation.

Showing Variation 2

  • There are multiple values for each major category, the mean is useful, but simplifies too much and could mislead.