Makeover Monday week 29, 2017: Trump vs Obama White House Salaries

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It’s always exciting to get data on political topics and this week Andy dug up White House Salary data for the Obama and Trump administrations.

While it feels a bit personal to look at people’s names and annual salary figures, it makes for a fascinating dataset to work with, so let’s look at the original viz:



What I like about it:

  • Simple design, good formatting, easy to read font, nice big bars used in the histogram
  • Title works well with the histogram chart choice
  • Subtitle and notes add more context, sources are stated and credit is given
  • Summary numbers at the top give the reader actual figures to compare
  • The bin size of $30k is a good choice, as it states in the article that “That amount (…) is the minimum that qualifies for benefits.” so moving up in increments of $30k is logical
  • Labels in each bar work well
  • Gridlines are helpful


What I don’t like about it:

  • the colours are unnecessary and there is no legend explaining what they mean
  • I think the y-axis should have a label. Alternatively, pointing out that the height of the bar is determined by the number of staff in each salary bracket would be helpful
  • There is no interactivity, but tooltips could add a lot of extra context
  • I’d like a reference point, such as average salary in the US or average salary in other country’s administrations, just to give me context and help me determine whether these numbers are anything out of the ordinary
  • It is difficult to compare the two as my eyes have to move across and I have to do the calculations in my head


What I did:

  • After going through the dataset and looking at the different fields provided, I decided to look at the staff who worked under Obama and are still in the White House now
  • Mobile design to force myself to include only the key figures that were relevant for my story
  • Using colors to reflect the political parties


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