Showing surplus and deficit

The work ‘Gesellschaft und Wirdschaft’ (1931) contains about one hundred Isotype visualizations. On page 74 we find the graphic titled ‘Wanderbewegung wichtiger Länder 1920-1927′ (movement of people from and to notable countries 1920-27), which is also described in the book ‘The transformer – principles of making Isotype charts’ by Marie Neurath & Robin Kinross. The book describes the design decisions involved in making statistical charts that visualise surplus and deficit. In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting readings about Isotype as it gives an insight in how the Vienna group thought, worked and how their designs evolved over time.

Moving between important countries 1920-27

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Data true animation

Jump to the demo immediately: DEMO

In datavisualization, animation is often used to show a fluent transition from one data point to the next data point. For example, the length of a bar in a bar chart can be animated to go from data point A to data point B.

In many cases, animation is used to obtain a pleasurable user experience. This is a functional design decision, because it may be an affordance for the user to start exploring the possibilities of the visualization. But the side effect is that the animation may tell the wrong story. If data point A indicates the temperature at 1:00h p.m. and data point B indicates the temperature 6 hours later, a linear motion from point A to point B is an incorrect visualization of what really happens.

In this study, I explore some possibilities of a ‘data true’ animation. I will take the population pyramid as a starting point.

The graphic above was published in 1947 and shows the population of two cities in The Netherlands: Zeist and Eindhoven. The graphic shows the situation in 1930.

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