Makeover Monday week 5, 2018: what the most profitable companies make per second

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For week 5 of 2018, Andy picked a nice simple dataset, looking at the profit per second of the 25 most profitable US companies.

I’m really glad he chose something simple as I’ll be running a live Makeover Monday session on Thursday during the Copenhagen Tableau User Group and this should be something that people can tackle easily in 60 minutes.

Let’s have a look at the original visualization:

What works well:

  • The design is engaging and makes me curious
  • The colours are bright and distinct (at least for me)
  • The colour legend is in a prominent place and easy to understand
  • The chart contains a title which helps if people look at it without the context of the accompanying article

What could be improved:

  • There is too much going on: the title contains four different font colours, three different font sizes as well as a shape. The chart had grid lines that circle the entire thing and become irrelevant as soon as I move past the first shape.
  • The stop watch image in the middle doesn’t add any value and the ‘1 second’ label on top of it doesn’t make it any more useful
  • The company logos are too small to help with quick recognition so they may as well be removed
  • The blue bubbles around each company name show the same as each trapeze shaped bar – the size of profit. They’re unnecessary
  • The circular design of the chart impacts ease of understanding. It is very hard to understand the data this way and make any meaningful comparisons for individual companies along the way

What I did:

  • Given the challenges of the original visualization, I wanted to find a simple way of visualising some of the data to put the magnitude of the companies’ profits into perspective
  • At first I wanted to create a simple bar chart, because I’m quite fond of them, but then challenged myself to something even simpler.
  • Obviously, Apple stands out massively in this dataset so I found three companies which in combination still make less profit than Apple, even though they are also REALLY profitable.
  • And that allowed me to create a 15min viz, which will have to suffice this week as so many other things compete for my attention, including visiting two cities in two countries later this week…

Apple Inc..png

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